Introduction

The United States is a market leader in many of the world's major crops. Understanding where and when major United States crops are grown can help Canadian farmers market their crops. Reports on United States seeded acreage, growing conditions, weather forecasts, production reports, and harvest progress are all relevant for Canadian farmers.

Some reports, particularly in farm papers, are interesting news, but they have little market significance. Other reports are very important. Knowing where the various crops are grown can help separate important market news from market noise.

Corn, soybeans, barley and oats

The largest United States crop in terms of total production is corn, the majority of which is grown in a region known as the Corn Belt. The second largest crop grown in the United States is soybeans. As with corn, soybeans are primarily grown in the Midwestern states.

The United States barley crop is of most interest to Canadian malt barley growers. United States barley is grown over a wide geographic area with about 60% as much barley production as Canada.

Although the United States produces some oats, Canada is the world's largest oat exporter and supplies about 70% of the oats imported into the United States.

Table 1 and Figures 1 to 4 show the average annual production of these crops in the United States, where they are grown, when they are seeded, when the crop flowers or heads, and when it is harvested.

Table 1. Crop production in the United States

Crop Average annual production 2015 to 2019 Primary growing
areas
Seeding Flowering or heading Harvesting
Corn 14 billion bushels Iowa
Illinois
Nebraska
Minnesota
Indiana
Kansas
April and May July through first half of August October and November
Soybeans 4 billion bushels Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Nebraska
Indiana
May and June July through first 3 weeks of August Late September through October
Barley 160 million bushels Idaho
North Dakota
Montana
Colorado
Wyoming
Washington
April and May July through first half of August Late July to end of September
Oats 53 million bushels North Dakota
South Dakota
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Iowa
April and May July through first half of August August and September

Source: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/cropan20.pdf (PDF, 2.6 MB)

US Crop Producation Maps

Source: USDA Crop Production Maps

Figure 1. United States corn production


Map showing United States corn production 5 year average from 2012 to 2016.

See full image: United States corn production.

Figure 2. United States soybean production


Map showing United States soybean production 5 year average from 2012 to 2016.

See full image: United States soybean production.

Figure 3. United States barley production


Map showing United States barley production 5 year average from 2012 to 2016.

See full image: United States barley production.

Figure 4. United States oat production


Map showing United States barley production 5 year average from 2012 to 2016.

See full image: United States oat production.

Wheat

The third largest crop grown in the United States is wheat. The United States produces hard red, soft red and white winter wheats and hard red and durum spring-seeded varieties. A very small amount of white spring wheat is also grown.

Table 2 and Figure 5 show the primary growing areas for each type of wheat, including the average seeding, heading, and harvesting dates.

Table 2. Wheat production in the United States

Type of wheat Average annual production 2017 to 2019 Primary growing areas Seeding Heading Harvesting
Hard red winter wheat 748 million bushels Kansas
Colorado
Oklahoma
Texas
Late August to end of October The following year from late April through early June Late May through August
Hard red spring wheat 498 million bushels North Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
April to May Mid-June to mid-July Late July through mid-September
Soft red winter wheat 273 million bushels Indiana
Ohio
Illinois
North Carolina
Arkansas
Tennessee
Late September to end of October The following year from late April through early June June through July
Soft white winter wheat 252 million bushels Washington
Oregon
Idaho
Early September to mid-November The following year from mid-May to end of June July through August
Durum wheat 62 million bushels Wisconsin
North Dakota
Montana
South Dakota
April to May Mid-June to mid-July Mid-July through mid-September
Hard white winter wheat 16 million bushels Kansas
Colorado

 

Late August to end of October The following year from late April through early June July through August

Figure 5. Wheat Production Areas in the United States


Map showing wheat production areas in the United States.
Source: National Association of Wheat Growers 2013, 2017 map of wheat grown by region.

Market noise

The goal of this article is to help farmers to decide what is market noise and what is market news. For example, if you hear a report that says that the corn crop in Utah is suffering from drought, you will know that is market noise rather than significant market news as Utah does not produce a great deal of corn. Similarly, if you hear that the soybean crop in Georgia has been damaged by a frost, you will know that is market noise.

Exporting to the United States

If you are interested in exporting to the United States, watch the video: Exporting Grain, Oilseeds and Special Crops to the United States.