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 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
areas
SeedingFlowering or headingHarvesting
Corn12 billion bushelsIowaApril andJuly throughOct and Nov
IllinoisMayfirst half of
NebraskaAug
Indiana
Minnesota
Ohio
Soybeans3 billion bushelsIllinoisMay andJuly throughLate Sept
IowaJunefirst 3 weeksthrough Oct
Minnesotaof Aug
Indiana
Ohio
Barley205 million bushelsNorth DakotaApril andJuly throughLate July to
MontanaMayfirst half ofend of Sept
WashingtonAug
Idaho
Oats76 million bushelsIowaApril andJuly throughAug and
MinnesotaMayfirst half ofSept
South DakotaAug
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



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 2008-2013Primary growing areasSeedingHeadingHarvesting
Hard red951 million bushelsKansasLate Aug toThe followingLate Aug to
winterColoradoend of Octyear from lateend of Oct
wheatOklahomaApril through
Texasearly June
Hard red506 million bushelsNorth DakotaApril to MayMid-June toMid-July to
springSouth Dakotamid-JulyMid-Sept
wheatMontana
Soft red426 million bushelsIndianaLate Sept tothe followingLate Aug to
winterOhioend of Octyear from lateend of Oct
wheatIllinoisApril through
N. Carolinaearly June
Arkansas
Tennessee
Soft white209 million bushelsWashingtonEarly SeptThe followingMid-July to
winterOregonto mid-Novyear from mid-early Sept
wheatSouthern IdahoMay to end of
June
Durum86 million bushelsWisconsinNorth DakotaApril to MayMid June toMid-July to
wheatEasternmid-Julymid-Sept
Montana
South Dakota
Hard white16 million bushelsKansasLate Aug toThe followingLate Aug to
winterColoradoend of Octyear from lateend of Oct
wheatApril 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

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

 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Neil Blue.
This document is maintained by Magda Beranek.
This information published to the web on September 10, 1999.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 20, 2015.