US Crops - Where Are They Grown?

 
 
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 Introduction | Corn, soybeans, barley, and oats | Wheat | Market noise | Exporting to the US | Return to Marketing Risk Management home page

Introduction

The United States (US) 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 “corn belt”. 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
CropAverage annual production 2008-2012Primary growing areasSeedingFlowering or headingHarvesting
Corn12 billion bushelsIowa
Illinois
Nebraska
Indiana
Minnesota
Ohio
April and MayJuly through first half of AugOct and Nov
Soybeans3 billion bushelsIllinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Indiana
Ohio
May and JuneJuly through first 3 weeks of AugLate Sept through Oct
Barley205 million bushelsNorth Dakota
Montana
Washington
Idaho
April and MayJuly through first half of AugLate July to end of Sept
Oats76 million bushelsIowa
Minnesota
South Dakota
North Dakota
Wisconsin
April and MayJuly through first half of AugAug and Sept
Source: USDA 2013 and USDA 2010

Figure 1. US Corn, Soybeans, and Barley Production by County (Click on each commodity to see detail map information)


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 wheatAverage annual production
2008 - 2013
Primary growing areasSeedingHeadingHarvesting
Hard red winter wheat951 million bushelsKansas
Colorado
Oklahoma
Texas
Late Aug to end of OctThe following year from late April through early JuneLate Aug to end of Oct
Hard red spring wheat506 million bushelsNorth Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
April to MayMid-June to mid-JulyMid-July to Mid-Sept
Soft red winter wheat426 million bushelsIndiana
Ohio
Illinois
N. Carolina
Arkansas
Tennessee
Late Sept to end of OctThe following year from late April through early JuneLate Aug to end of Oct
Soft white winter wheat209 million bushelsWashington
Oregon
Southern Idaho
Early Sept to mid-NovThe following year from mid-May to end of JuneMid-July to early Sept
Durum wheat86 million bushelsNorth Dakota
Eastern Montana
South Dakota
April to MayMid June to mid-JulyMid-July to mid-Sept
Hard white winter wheat16 million bushelsKansas
Colorado
Late Aug to end of OctThe following year from late April through early JuneLate Aug to end of Oct
Source: USDA 2013; USDA 2010

Figure 2 Wheat Production Areas in the United States

Source: National Association of Wheat Growers 2013

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.
 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Charlie Pearson.
This document is maintained by Magda Beranek.
This information published to the web on September 10, 1999.
Last Reviewed/Revised on September 24, 2014.