Due to the timing of rainfall and the severe drought that affected significant parts of Wisconsin during the 2012 growing season, counties that are usually not at the top of the list for average yields for corn grain and soybeans moved into the top slots for the year, according to recent reports by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
For the most part, the southwest and southern counties, which usually top the state averages for corn grain yields, came in below the state average of 121 bushels per acre, giving way to two west central counties - Pierce and St. Croix - which posted average yields of 167 and 166 bushels, respectively on 78,400 and 91,200 harvested acres in 2012.
In northeast Wisconsin, Oconto County reported an average yield of 158 bushels from 30,000 acres while neighboring Shawano County had an average of 155 bushels on 55,600 harvested acres.
In east central Wisconsin, Outagamie County had an average yield of 154 bushels on 64,800 acres while Calumet County averaged 153 bushels from 29,500 acres.
Across all of Wisconsin for 2012, corn growers harvested 3.3 million of their 4.35 million planted acres for corn grain. The average per acre yield of 121 bushels gave the state a total crop of 399.3 million bushels - down from the 517.92 million bushels in 2011.
For soybeans in 2012, Calumet County jumped into first place for the average yield with 55.8 bushels on 22,600 harvested acres. In 2011, the county's soybean crop averaged 47.4 bushels from 22,500 harvested acres.
Sheboygan County nudged into second place for soybeans with an average of 53.8 bushels from 26,700 acres while Manitowoc County was in third place among the counties with 53.3 bushels on average from 23,700 acres. Those two counties are also in east central Wisconsin.
For all of Wisconsin, the soybean yields averaged 41.5 bushels per acre - down by 5 bushels from 2011. Only 10,000 of the 1.71 million planted acres were not harvested. The year's production was 70.55 million bushels compared to 74.865 million bushels in 2011.
No similar statistics have yet been released for winter wheat, corn silage, oats, or milk production by county in the state for 2012. However, the state office of the statistics services has published the county averages for cash rent on non-irrigated land for 2012.
The state average for land rent for the year was $112 per acre compared to $96 in 2011. The highest rents were in the southwest counties, reaching $207 (up from $179 in 2011) in Lafayette County, $197 (up from $155) in Grant County, and $173 (up from $118) in Iowa County.
In the same region, however, average rents were $114 in Richland County, $111 in Sauk, $106 in Vernon, and $99.50 in Crawford County.
In other areas of the state, the statistical district averages included $65 per acre in the north central and $69 in the northwest. The lowest county average rents for 2012 were $21 per acre in Bayfield County, $22 in Price County, and $24 in Douglas County.
Averages for other districts were $77 per acre in the northeast, $77.50 in the central, $101 in the west central, $106 in the east central, $121 in the southeast, $156 in the south central (at $188, Rock County was up by $43 from 2011), and $157 in the southwest.