Record corn, soybean crops forecast for Wisconsin

Ray Mueller
Nominations sought for WI Soybean Board.


Wisconsin's corn and soybean growers are poised to harvest record crops in the coming months, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's report on August 12 that was based on crop conditions as of August 1.

Corn production for grain in Wisconsin is forecast to hit 553.6 million bushels, which would smash the existing record of 515 million bushels set in 2011. This record crop would be harvested from 3.2 million acres with a record high average yield of 173 bushels per acre – nine bushels more than the existing record yield set in 2015.

Likewise, a national record high corn production of more than 15.153 billion bushels was forecast on August 1. It would be harvested from 86.55 million acres with an average per acre yield of 175.1 bushels compared to the previous record of 168.4 bushels per acre set in 2015.

On corn acres for grain, Wisconsin's 2016 potential of 3.2 million is 200,000 more than in 2015. The projected national total would be 5.801 million more acres than were harvested for grain in 2015.

Record Soybean Estimates

The August 1 estimate for soybeans credits Wisconsin with a potential for record highs on harvested acres, yield per acre, and total production. Those numbers would be 1.94 million harvested acres with 52 bushels per acre for a total crop of 100.88 million bushels – increases of 70,000 harvested acres and 8.315 million bushels compared to 2015 and of 1.5 bushels per acre compared to 2011.

The national outlook for soybeans also projects a record harvest of more than 4.06 billion bushels from 83.037 million acres. Those would be increases of 131 million bushels and 1.223 million harvested acres from 2015. The projected average per acre yield average of 48.9 bushels would be .9 bushel more than in 2015.

More Winter Wheat

With most of the crop already harvested by August 1, the average per acre yield for winter wheat in Wisconsin was hiked by 2 bushels compared to the July 1 estimate to a record high of 80 bushels. This would be 6 bushels more on average per acre than in 2015.

Wisconsin's winter wheat production estimate was increased to 21.2 million bushels, which would be an increase of 36 percent or 5.66 million bushels from 2015. The 265,000 harvested acres is up by 55,000 acres from 2015.

Across the United States, the estimated number of harvested acres of winter wheat is down by 2.081 million acres from 2015 to a total of 30.176 million this year but the projected average yield per acre has jumped to 54.9 bushels compared to 42.5 bushels in 2015. This production covers hard and soft red and hard and soft white winter wheat varieties.

The forecast of more than 1.657 billion bushels for the nation's winter wheat production is 287.252 million more bushels than were harvested in 2015. The August 1 estimate increased the per acre yield by 1 bushel compared to the July 1 forecast and the nation's total production by 2 percent.

Oats Production Slumps

In contrast to the major crops, oats production in Wisconsin and the United States took a downturn this year. Wisconsin's forecast of 8.71 million bushels is down from the 14.04 million bushels in 2015.

This reduction is due to a combination of a cutback of 65,000 harvested acres to 130,000 this year and to an average yield of 67 bushels per acre compared to 72 bushels in 2015.

Similarly, oats production in the United States is estimated to be down to 76.582 million bushels compared to 89.535 million bushels in 2015. The average yield per acre projection of 66 bushels is down from 70.2 bushels in 2015 and the harvested acre estimate is lower by 111,000 to a 2016 total of 1.165 million acres.

Heavy Alfalfa Crop

Wisconsin's alfalfa growers are enjoying a bountiful harvest this year, according to the August 1 data. The year's estimate is for a harvest of 4.42 million tons compared to 3.36 million tons in 2015.

The number of alfalfa acres being harvested is up by 100,000 to 1.3 million. This year's average yield per acre is projected at 3.4 dry matter tons compared to 2.8 tons in 2015.

For other species of hay crops, the August 1 estimate for Wisconsin is for a production of 726,000 tons, 2.2 tons per acre, and 330,000 harvested acres. For 2015, those numbers were 713,000 tons, 2.3 tons per acre, and 310,000 harvested acres.

National Hay Crops

The alfalfa crop projection in the United States is for a production of 61.507 million tons from an average of 3.4 tons on 18.065 million harvested acres. Those are increases from 58.974 million tons, 3.32 tons per acre, and 17.778 million harvested acres in 2015.

Unlike in Wisconsin, hay harvested from other species outranks the alfalfa crop across the United States. This year's forecast calls for a harvest of 78.793 million tons compared to 75.414 million tons in 2015. The average per acre yield is up slightly to 2.07 tons and the number of harvested acres is up by 1.403 million to 38.062 million.

Updated forecasts for corn and soybeans, based on crop conditions as of September 1, will be released on September 12