Introduction

The United States is a market leader in many of the world's major crops. Understanding where and when major US crops are grown can help Canadian farmers market their crops. Reports on US 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".

This article will show where each of the major US crops is grown. It will also show when the crops are planted, when they are in their reproductive state, and when they are harvested.

Corn, Soybeans, Barley, and Oats

The largest US crop in terms of total production is corn, the majority of which is grown in a region known as the "cornbelt". The second largest crop grown in the US is soybeans. As with corn, soybeans are primarily grown in the Midwestern states. The US barley crop is of most interest to Canadian malt barley growers. US barley is grown over a wide area geographically and the US produces about 60 per cent as much barley as Canada. Although the US produces some oats,Canada is the world's largest oat exporter and supplies about 70% of the oats imported into the US. Figure 1 and Table 1 show the average annual production of each crop in the US, 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 2008-2012 Primary growing
areas
Seeding Flowering or heading Harvesting
Corn 12 billion bushels Iowa April and July through Oct and Nov
    Illinois May first half of  
    Nebraska   Aug  
    Indiana      
    Minnesota      
    Ohio      
Soybeans 3 billion bushels Illinois May and July through Late Sept
    Iowa June first 3 weeks through Oct
    Minnesota   of Aug  
    Indiana      
    Ohio      
Barley 205 million bushels North Dakota April and July through Late July to
    Montana May first half of end of Sept
    Washington   Aug  
    Idaho      
Oats 76 million bushels Iowa April and July through Aug and
    Minnesota May first half of Sept
    South Dakota   Aug  
    North Dakota      
    Wisconsin      

Source: USDA 2013 (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_Subject/index.php); USDA 2010

Figure 1. US Corn, Soybeans, and Barley Production by County
Barley 2013 Production by County for Selected States
Corn for Grain 2013 Production by County for Selected States
Soybeans 2013 Production by County for Selected States
Source: USDA 2010

Wheat

The third largest crop grown in the United States is wheat. The US produces hard red, soft red, and white winter wheats and hard red and durum spring-seeded varieties. The US also produces very small amounts of white spring wheat.Table 2 and Figure 2 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 2008-2013 Primary growing areas Seeding Heading Harvesting
Hard red 951 million bushels Kansas Late Aug to The following Late Aug to
winter   Colorado end of Oct year from late end of Oct
wheat   Oklahoma   April through  
    Texas   early June  
Hard red 506 million bushels North Dakota April to May Mid-June to Mid-July to
spring   South Dakota   mid-July Mid-Sept
wheat   Montana      
Soft red 426 million bushels Indiana Late Sept to the following Late Aug to
winter   Ohio end of Oct year from late end of Oct
wheat   Illinois   April through  
    N. Carolina   early June  
    Arkansas      
    Tennessee      
Soft white 209 million bushels Washington Early Sept The following Mid-July to
winter   Oregon to mid-Nov year from mid- early Sept
wheat   Southern Idaho   May to end of  
        June  
Durum 86 million bushels Wisconsin North Dakota April to May Mid June to Mid-July to
wheat   Eastern   mid-July mid-Sept
    Montana      
    South Dakota      
Hard white 16 million bushels Kansas Late Aug to The following Late Aug to
winter   Colorado end of Oct year from late end of Oct
wheat       April through  
        early June  

Source: USDA 2013 (http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_Subject/index.php);

Figure 2 Wheat Production Areas in the United States
Wheat Production Areas in the United States
Source: National Association of Wheat Growers 2013 (http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/about-wheat-production-by-class-20110606.jpg)

Market Noise

The goal of this Agricultural Marketing Manual 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 Texas is suffering from severe drought, you will know that is "market noise" rather than significant market news. Texas doesn't produce a great deal of corn. Or if you hear that the soybean crop in northern Alabama has been damaged by a frost, you'll know that is "market noise".

Exporting to the US

If you're interested in exporting to the US, see "Exporting Grain, Oilseeds and Special Crops to the United States" on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bvCmjWYyf0&list=PLOUwfF01x2YU5pMx-R370Wu72rb9wsTJN&index=2

  • Market Risk Management
  • US Crops – Where Are They Grown?