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Average corn and soybean harvests expected in Md., Del.

August 13, 2005|By DAVID DISHNEAU

Maryland and Delaware crop sizes are returning to normal after last year's big corn and soybean harvests, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Friday in its first production forecast this season for those commodities.

Fickle rains have favored some counties and left others unusually dry, resulting in an average outlook overall, said Jeanne McCarthy-Kersey, deputy director of the USDA's Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service.

"It's a good year; it's just not a great year," she said.

The agency said Maryland corn and soybean production both will decline 17 percent from last year. Farmers will harvest 54 million bushels of corn for grain, down from 65 million last year. Maryland soybean growers will harvest 17.7 million bushels, compared with 21.3 million in 2004, the report said.

Delaware corn production will drop 12 percent to 20.6 million bushels from 23.3 million. Delaware soybean production will plunge 23 percent to 6.8 million bushels from 8.7 million last year, the USDA said.

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Parts of Washington and Allegany counties have been dry. Accumulated precipitation this year through Aug. 8 was more than 5 inches below normal in both Hagerstown and Frostburg, according to the Maryland Agricultural Statistics Service.

Fruit crop production also appears to be uneven. The USDA said Maryland's peach harvest will rise 2 percent to 4.2 million bushels from 4.1 million, but apple production will fall 12 percent to 30 million bushel from 34.1 million.

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