A new federal crop report released Wednesday puts the production outlook in Nebraska for corn and soybeans at the lowest level since 2002.
The September update dropped corn production by 14 percent from a year ago, even though 2012 corn planting was at the highest level since the 1930s.
That reflects what many are calling the worst drought in the state since the 1950s. And the forecast from the National Agricultural Statistics Service drops corn expectations by another 1 percent from a similar report in August.
The month-to-month change for soybeans was much bigger. The 200-million-bushels forecast, based on Sept. 1 conditions, is off 7 percent since August.
Randy Pryor of the Saline County Extension office said that was no surprise to him. "Everybody knows that soybeans are all about the water they get in the latter part of the year, particularly in August," Pryor said.
In fields without irrigation, yields drop off fairly quickly when the root zone dries out. Soybeans' ability to wait for rain runs out eventually.
"We went right on by the rally time," Pryor said.
A companion crop report Wednesday at the national level showed big drought impacts in virtually all states that are major producers of corn and soybeans, including Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and South Dakota.
The average Iowa corn yield, for example, was off 31 bushels from last year's 172. The Illinois yield reduction from last year was at 47 bushels per acre.
Nebraska, which counts much more heavily on irrigation for its results, was down 15 bushels, based on Sept. 1 conditions.