MILWAUKEE (AP) - The prolonged heat wave and summer drought took a toll on Wisconsin's corn and soybean crops, as harvests this year are on pace to be at least 11 percent lower than last year's, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The state is expected to produce 431 million bushels of corn for grain this year, down 17 percent from 2011's harvest, the USDA's agricultural statistics service said.
The agency also forecast a corn yield of 125 bushels per acre, down from 156 bushels per acre a year ago. If that forecast holds true, it would be Wisconsin's lowest yield since it produced 111 bushels per acre in 1996.
Wisconsin's soybean harvest is also expected to decline. The state is expected to produce about 66.3 million bushels this year, an 11 percent decrease.
Both trends mirror similar poor forecasts across the Midwest. With the exception of Minnesota, which received enough timely rain to help offset the effects of the drought, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan are all expected to produce less corn and soybeans.
Across the nation, corn production is expected to total 10.7 billion bushels, where one bushel weighs 56 pounds. The total harvest would mark a 13 percent decrease from last year's yield.
Soybean production won't be as challenged. The U.S. is expected to harvest 3 billion bushels of soybeans, a decrease of 4 percent. For soybeans, one bushel weighs 60 pounds.
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