Minn. corn farmers projected to harvest record crop

Minnesota's cornfields will average 168 bushels an acre this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pioneer Press reports this would be Minnesota's largest corn crop in state history and make the state the second largest corn producer in the country -- only trailing Iowa.
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Minnesota's cornfields will average 168 bushels an acre this year, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pioneer Press reports that it would make Minnesota the second largest corn producer in the country -- only trailing Iowa.

If Minnesota farmers harvest 1.39 million bushels of corn -- 15 percent higher than last year -- it would beat the state record of 1.29 million bushels set two years ago, according to the Associated Press.

Minnesota farmers have largely averted the extreme drought conditions that has parched other parts of the country.

Nationally, the USDA slightly lowered its corn harvest projections from 10.73 billion bushels to 10.71 billion bushels, the AP reports.

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It's only mid-September, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture says 12 percent of Minnesota's corn crop is already harvested. The Pioneer Press notes that is roughly three weeks earlier than last year. The soybean harvest is also well ahead of the five-year average with 16 percent complete.

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State farmers will benefit in two ways: drought has helped to drive corn prices higher, and Minnesota farms are producing high yields compared to farms in other states, where dry conditions have shriveled crops, WCCO reports.

Last year's Minnesota corn crop comes in at record $7 billion

Even though production was down, Minnesota's corn crop was worth a best-ever $7 billion. The estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture tops the previous record the year before. The state's soybean crop was down 13 percent from 2010.

Minnesota crops ready to harvest weeks ahead of schedule

Minnesota farmers are taking advantage of the dry weather and getting an early start on the fall harvest. Combines started rolling through corn and soybean fields last week, the Pioneer Press reports. Despite the lack of rain, Minnesota escaped the disastrous drought conditions seen in much of the nation's heartland.

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However, soybean and wheat crops will drop as much as eight percent because corn is more profitable. Minnesota's corn crop was valued at $7 billion last year. Corn planting is also expected to increase about four percent nationwide.

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In its weekly crop weather report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes the condition of the state's corn crop is still rated 77 percent fair to good. Soybeans were rated 81 percent in fair to good condition.