Alabama: Record, Near-Record Yields Projected for Some Crops

    The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released their crop production forecasts for 2020. These projections are as of August 1, and information about the methodology used can be found on the USDA website. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report forecasting marketing year prices was also released.

    Some of the key highlights from these reports are as followed:

    • Record peanut yields and near-record corn, soybean, and cotton yields are projected for Alabama.
    • Despite near-record yields, cotton production in Alabama is expected to be down from 2019 because of a decline in acreage.
    • Projected nationwide production of corn, soybeans, and peanuts is up from 2019, but is down for cotton.
      • These estimates were made prior to the derecho that damaged over 10 million corn and soybean acres across Iowa and Illinois. Because of this, corn and soybean production may be lower than originally estimated.
    • Corn, soybean, and cotton prices are projected to be down from last year, but these will likely change, depending on the extent of the corn and soybean damage mentioned above.

    Corn and Soybeans


    In Alabama, corn production is forecasted to reach its third highest value of all time, up 31 percent from 2019. This increased production is driven by what would be near-record yields of 165 bushels per acre, only behind the 167 bushels per acre harvested in 2017 (Figure 1).

    Figure 1: Alabama Crop Yields by Year

    Figure 1: Alabama crop yields by year. Click Image to Enlarge

    A 16 percent increase in corn acreage from 2019 also contributes to the expected increase in production (Figure 2). Conditions have been good across the region, with record corn yields projected in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

    Figure 2. Alabama harvested area by crop and yea

    Figure 2. Alabama harvested area by crop and year. Click Image to Enlarge

    Soybean production in Alabama is projected to be 34 percent higher than 2019, driven by increased yield and area harvested (Figures 1 and 2). Yields are projected at 41 bushels per acre, which would be up five bushels from 2019 and rank fourth all time. Projected area harvested increased 17 percent from 2019, to 305,000 acres statewide.

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    In the US overall, corn production is forecasted to reach a new record of 15.3 billion bushels, up 12 percent from 2019. Soybean production is projected to reach 4.4 billion bushels, 25 percent higher than 2019. Again, these projections come prior to the derecho, so estimates may change.


    Corn prices for the 2020-2021 marketing year are projected at $3.10, which would be $0.50 lower than the estimate for 2019-2020. This also marks a decline from the $3.35 projected price in July. The price from July increased because of the July forecast that projected an increase in the expected yields nationwide.

    Soybean prices are projected at $8.35, which would be down from the $8.55 estimate of 2019-2020. Similar to corn, projected prices are lower than they were in July because of increased yield expectations. However, it is unknown to what extent prices will increase after the potentially large decline in corn production because of the derecho.

    Peanuts and Cotton


    Peanuts are expected to have the third highest level of production statewide, at 685 million pounds, up 29 percent from 2019. This is driven by an expected record yield of 4,100 pounds per acre (up 22 percent from 2019) and a modest increase in area harvested to 167,000 acres (Figures 1 and 2).

    Cotton production in Alabama is expected to decline to 950,000 bales, down 8 percent from 2019. This comes despite an expected yield of 981 pounds per acre (Figure 1), which would rank second all time. It is also driven by a 67,000 acre decline in area harvested from 2019 (Figure 2).

    Nationwide, peanut production is projected to reach 6.2 billion pounds, up 13 percent from 2019. The cotton production estimate is 18.1 million bales, which would mark a 9 percent decline from 2019.


    Cotton prices for the marketing year are projected at $0.59 per pound, unchanged from the July projection, and down from the $0.595 cents per pound estimate from last year.

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