As farmers wait another two weeks or more to harvest this year's first cutting of their alfalfa or other hay crop, the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the survey-based data for the production of those crops in 2013.
The average yields per acre and total production for both hay categories were up somewhat for 2013, the report indicated. Total production hit 3.76 million dry matter tons in 2013 compared to 3.015 million tons in 2012.
Wisconsin's alfalfa crop averaged 2.6 dry matter tons per acre in 2013 compared to 2.3 tons in 2012. The respective averages for other hay crops were 1.8 and 1.5 tons.
The harvested acres of alfalfa fell by 50,000 to 1.1 million in 2013. For other hay crops, however, the harvested acres in 2013 jumped by 100,000 to a total of 500,000.
In the county statistics published in the report, Washington and Iowa counties posted the top alfalfa yield averages in 2013 with 3.55 dry matter tons per acre. Other top reported yield averages were 3.25 tons in Dane and Kenosha counties and 3.15 tons in Manitowoc, Rock, Dodge and Green counties.
Grant County had a state-leading production of 159,300 tons of alfalfa hay from its 51,600 harvested acres and an average per acre yield of 3.1 tons. Other county totals included 113,300 tons in Dane, 111,300 in Iowa and 107,200 in Green.
For the other hay categories, production was concentrated in the north central, northwest and far northeast parts of the state. The counties in those agricultural districts accounted for more than 50 percent of the harvested acres and about 47 percent of the state's production.
Taylor, Marathon, Price and Clark counties each had between 26,000 and 21,800 harvested acres of other hay crops in 2013. Taylor County also posted the top production of 51,000 dry matter tons, followed by Marathon with 41,000, Price with 38,000 and Clark with 36,400 tons.
In average yields per acre, the highest averages were 2.55 dry matter tons in east central counties; 2.15 in both the south central and southeast districts; and 2.1 tons in the southwest districts. In those areas, the per county acreages were so small that individual statistics were reported for only Vernon and Waukesha counties — both of which had yield averages below that of their agricultural statistics district.