Multiple counties contribute to 2016 state record crop yields

Ray Mueller

Madison - Multiple counties contributed to the record-setting per acre and state-wide yields for corn and soybeans in 2016, according to the county yield estimates published in late February by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Multiple counties contributed to the record-setting per acre and state-wide yields for corn and soybeans in 2016.

As Wisconsin set a record with its harvest of 573.16 million bushels of grain corn from 3.22 million acres in 2016, four counties in the southern part of the state posted averages above 200 bushels per acre. Those county averages were 203 bushels in Lafayette, 202.4 in Grant, 201.6 in Rock, and 200.9 in Columbia.

They were among 16 counties with an average of at least 180 bushels of grain corn per acre. The northernmost counties on that list were Outagamie with 185.2 bushels and Pierce with 189.2 bushels.

The state-wide average for grain corn yield in 2016 was 178 bushels. This was 14 bushels more per acre than the crop harvested from 3 million acres in 2015.

County corn totals

Dane County topped the list with its total production of 33.982 million bushels from 176,500 harvested acres – an average of 192.5 bushels per acre. Those were major increases from the respective 2015 totals of 26.545 million bushels, 144,500 harvested acres, and 183.7 bushels per acre.

Rock County's production of grain corn in 2016 increased to 29.8 million bushels from its 25.357 million bushels in 2015. The number of harvested acres was up by 4,600 to 147,800 but the per acre yield was up by 24.5 bushels from 2015.

Other county totals for 2016 were 27.401 million bushels in Grant, 25.151 million in Lafayette, and 22.058 million bushels in Dodge County. Thanks to its 23.5 bushel increase on per acre yield, Grant County had a production gain of nearly 2.2 million bushels despite a decrease of 5,600 in harvested acres to a 2016 total of 135,400 acres.

Corn silage data

Despite an increase in per acre yields compared to 2015, production of corn silage in Wisconsin decreased by 2.325 million tons in 2016. The year's total of 16.59 million tons was harvested from 790,000 acres – down from 970,000 acres in 2015.

All nine of the agricultural districts in the state reported decreases in corn silage production compared to 2015. The major decreases were 553,000 tons in the south central district, 471,000 tons in the west central group of counties, and 368,000 tons in the southwest district.

In the official report, Manitowoc County led the way with its 2016 total of 747,000 tons of corn silage – up from 601,000 tons in 2015. The county's 33,900 harvested acres yielded an average of 22 tons per acre. Other leading production counties in 2016 were Clark with 741,000 tons, Marathon with 701,000 tons, Grant with 644,000 tons, and Kewaunee with 599,000 tons.

Based on the numbers for 2015, however, it is possible that Dane County was actually the top county for corn silage in 2016. The report indicated that corn silage numbers for 2016 in Dane County were not disclosed in order to avoid possible identification of individual operations.

The published numbers for Dane County in 2015 were 1.129 million tons of corn silage from 45,600 harvested acres. For 2016, the number of planted acres stated in the report for corn grain was 197,500 with 176,500 harvested for grain corn, leaving only 21,000 acres for corn silage and corn seed production in Dane County for 2016.

Compared to the state-wide average of 21 tons of corn silage for acre, up by 2 tons from 2015, Trempealeau County had an average of 24 tons per acre. Following were Grant County with 23.5 tons, Pepin and Iowa counties with 23 tons each, and Kewaunee County with 22.5 tons.

Soybean statistics

The state's soybean crop in 2016 set records for total production, average yield per acre, and harvested acres. Those respective numbers were 107.25 million bushels, 55 bushels, and 1.95 million acres.

Lafayette County also led in the per acre yield with an average of 64 bushels. Other top per acre yields were 63.4 bushels in Green County, 62.4 bushels in Grant County, and 60.4 bushels in both Dodge and Dane counties.

Rock County led the way in production with 5.435 million bushels from 92,200 harvested acres yielding an average of 58.9 bushels per acre. Other top production counties were Dane with 4.855 million bushels, Dodge with 4.599 million bushels, Grant with 3.9 million bushels, and Lafayette with 3.64 million bushels.