LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The USDA predicted Thursday that Nebraska farmers will harvest their second-largest corn crop ever this year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the state's corn crop is expected to yield 1.54 billion bushels. That would be 2 percent smaller than last year's record crop.
The corn yield is predicted to hit a record high of 180 bushels per acre, which is 2 bushels above last year's high.
"Above normal rainfall throughout much of the growing season has benefited dryland areas, resulting in excellent yield prospects," said Joseph Parsons, director of the USDA's Nebraska field office.
The USDA said Nebraska farmers planted 8.55 million acres of corn -- 3 percent fewer acres than in 2009.
Nebraska's soybean crop is forecast to grow 9 percent over last year, to a record 284 million bushels. Soybean yield is expect to be 53 bushels per acre, which is the second-highest ever.
Farmers in the state planted 12 percent more acres of soybeans this year, so the crop is on 5.35 million acres in Nebraska.
The state's winter wheat crop is now expected to produce 68.4 million bushels. That's 2 percent less than last month's forecast and 11 percent below last year. Winter wheat yield is expected to be 45 bushels per acre.
The USDA is predicting a sorghum crop of 6.1 million bushels. That's 53 percent less than a year ago because fewer acres were planted.
About 2.1 million bushels of oats are expected to be harvested. That would be a 1 percent increase over 2009.
More acres of dry edible beans were planted, so production is expected to grow 48 percent in Nebraska.
Sugar beet production is down 13 percent from 2009.
Copyright 2010 The AP.