LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Based on October 1 conditions, corn production in Colorado is forecast at 148.74 million bushels, up 21 percent from last year’s 122.96 million bushels, according to the October 1 Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Corn producers planted an estimated 1.39 million acres in 2021, down 2 percent from last year. The 1.10 million acres expected to be harvested for grain this year are 50,000 acres above the 1.06 million acres harvested a year ago. Corn yield is estimated at 134.0 bushels per acre, up 2.0 bushels per acre from the September 1 forecast and 18.0 bushels per acre above last year’s final yield. As of October 3, Colorado’s corn crop condition was rated 13 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 42 percent good, and 8 percent excellent. Corn harvested for grain was 22 percent complete, compared with 28 percent last year and the 5-year average of 15 percent.
Sorghum production in 2021 is forecast at 19.58 million bushels, up from the 5.10 million bushels harvested last year. Growers are estimated to have planted 500,000 acres of sorghum this year, up 130,000 acres from last year and the highest since 500,000 acres were planted in 1984, and expect to harvest 435,000 acres this year, up 180,000 acres from the 255,000 acres harvested last year and the highest since 498,000 acres were harvested in 1958. Average yield is forecast at 45.0 bushels per acre, down 3.0 bushels per acre from the September 1 forecast but up 25.0 bushels per acre from last year. As of October 3, Colorado’s sorghum crop condition was rated 8 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 47 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. Sorghum harvested for grain was estimated at 14 percent complete, compared with 18 percent last year and the 5-year average of 10 percent.
The initial forecast of all sunflower production is estimated at 50.37 million pounds, up 9 percent from the 2020 crop of 46.11 million pounds. All sunflower yield is expected to average 1,049 pounds per acre, up 108 pounds per acre from last year. Planted area is estimated at 54,000 acres, down 6,000 acres from last year and harvested area is estimated at 48,000 acres, down 1,000 acres from last year. As of October 3, Colorado’s sunflower crop condition was rated 9 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 8 percent excellent.
Alfalfa hay production in Colorado is forecast at 3.29 million tons, up 38 percent from the 2.38 million tons produced in 2020. Colorado farmers and ranchers expect to harvest 730,000 acres of alfalfa hay this year, up 30,000 acres from 2020. Alfalfa hay yield is expected to average 4.50 tons per acre, compared with last year’s yield of 3.40 tons per acre and the August 1 forecast of 4.00 tons per acre. Producers expect to harvest 680,000 acres of other hay in 2021, unchanged from last year. Other hay production is forecast at 1.22 million tons, up 33 percent from the 918,000 tons a year ago. Other hay yield is expected to average 1.80 tons per acre, compared with last year’s yield of 1.35 tons per acre and the August 1 forecast of 1.40 tons per acre.
Sugarbeet production in Colorado is forecast at 777,000 tons, up 5 percent from the 742,000 tons produced in 2020. Growers expect to harvest 23,700 acres this year, compared with 23,700 acres a year ago. Yields are expected to average 32.8 tons per acre, unchanged from the September 1 forecast and up from last year’s yield of 31.3 tons per acre. As of October 3, Colorado’s sugarbeet crop condition was rated 25 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 25 percent excellent. Harvest of sugarbeets was estimated at 40 percent complete, compared with 42 percent last year and the 5-year average of 19 percent.
Dry edible bean production for 2021 is forecast at 582,000 hundredweight, down 46 percent from the 1.07 million hundredweight produced a year earlier. If realized, this would be the lowest dry bean production since 540,000 hundredweight were produced in 2013. Yields are expected to average 1,940 pounds per acre, unchanged from the August 1 forecast but down 120 pounds per acre from last year. Growers are estimated to have planted 33,000 acres of dry edible beans, down 25,000 acres from last year, and expect to harvest 30,000 acres this year, down 22,000 acres from the 52,000 acres harvested last year. If realized, this would be the lowest planted and harvested dry bean acreage in Colorado since 1915. As of October 3, Colorado’s dry edible bean crop condition was rated 10 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 33 percent good, and 17 percent excellent. Dry edible bean harvest was estimated to be 42 percent complete, compared with 33 percent last year and the 5-year average of 54 percent.
— USDA NASS Colorado Field Office
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