During the onset of a major drought, Wisconsin's winter wheat crop in 2012 had just enough time and moisture to approach the record high for average yield per acre.
On approximately 265,000 harvested acres, the state's average yield was 75 bushels per acre, according to an early October report by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
This was a jump of 10 bushels per acre from 2011 and fell just short of the record high average yield of 76.2 bushels per acre in 2006.
Despite the increase in yield per acre, Wisconsin's winter wheat crop of 18.375 million bushels was down by 3.4 million bushels from the 2011 crop. This was due to a drop of 90,000 in the number of harvested acres. The 2012 crop started with a planting of 265,000 acres compared to a planting of 345,000 acres for the 2011 crop.
Across the United States, the winter wheat crop averaged 47.2 bushels per acre for a total harvest of 1.65 billion bushels. Those were increases of one bushel per acre and 152 million bushels of yield compared to 2011. The number of harvested acres increased by eight percent to a total of 34.8 million.
With an increase of 15,000 acres harvested for grain, Wisconsin's oats crop totaled 7.8 million bushels this year compared to 7.13 million bushels in 2011. This put Wisconsin in second place among the states for oats production in 2012, trailing only Minnesota.
Of the 220,000 acres planted to oats in Wisconsin in 2012 (up by 10,000 from 2011), 130,000 were harvested for grain with an average yield of 60 bushels per acre compared to 62 bushels in 2011 and the state's record high of 68 bushels per acre in 2009.
The national production of oats in 2012 jumped by nearly 20 percent compared to a year ago. This year's crop totaled 64 million bushels (up by 10.4 million bushels from 2011) from an average yield of 61.3 bushels per acre (up by 4.2 bushels from 2011).
Compared to 2011, per acre yields increased this year in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas. The 2012 harvest of oats from 1.045 million acres was an increase of 11 percent from a year earlier.
For the 2012 barley crop, Wisconsin was at odds with the national trend. The state's production of 660,000 bushels from 15,000 harvested acres (average yield of 44 bushels per acre) was down by six percent from 2011 and 54 percent from 2010, while the national production of barley zoomed by 41 percent this year, the report pointed out.
Wisconsin's barley growers planted only 33,000 acres this year (the same as in 2011), but growers across the country increased their planted acres by 42 percent to a total of 3.64 million. Of the 3.24 million acres harvested for grain, the average yield of 67.9 bushels per acre (down by 1.7 bushels from 2011) brought in a crop of 220
million bushels - an increase of 41 percent from 2011.
In an accompanying report, the Wisconsin agricultural statistics field office pointed out that, as of Sept. 1, the stored stocks of corn, soybeans and oats within the state were down modestly compared to a year earlier. Because of their relatively small volume, Wisconsin's stocks of wheat and barley are not reported separately but are included in the national total.
Wisconsin's on- and off-farm stocks of old crop corn were at 50.769 million bushels on Sept. 1 compared to 54.336 million bushels a year earlier. The national total had dropped to 988.4 million bushels after being at nearly 1.128 billion bushels at the start of September 2011.
For soybeans, Wisconsin's stocks were down to 4.322 million bushels compared to 5.272 million a year earlier. The national soybean stocks stood at 169.417 million bushels, down from 215.013 million bushels in 2011.
The trend was similar for oats in Wisconsin with 11.477 million bushels in storage from the new and old crop compared to 12.447 million bushels a year ago on Sept. 1. The national total for oats in storage, however, was at just over 85 million bushels this year compared to 78.391 million bushels a year ago on Sept. 1.
For wheat, the Sept. 1 storage total of slightly under 2.104 billion bushels was down by just over 43 million bushels from a year earlier.
Barley in storage had increased by more than 20 million bushels to a total of 196.891 million.