More sweet corn, snap beans; less green peas in 2016

Ray Mueller


The annual corn silage drydown or moisture testing days are now being scheduled.

The contracted production and processing of sweet corn and snap beans is projected to increase for Wisconsin this year while the green pea crop declined due to a significant cutback in harvested acres, according to an update report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

With 60,900 contracted acres, up by 200 acres from 2015, and an expected average yield of 8.49 tons per acre compared to 8.08 tons a year ago, the sweet corn harvest is forecast to hit 517,041 tons. This would be an increase of 5 percent from the 490,230 tons in 2015.

The national outlook for sweet corn is similar with increases of 6,780 contracted acres to 299,380 and of .46 ton per acre to 8.55 tons for the average yield. This would provide a harvest of 2,558,551 tons compared to 2,398,850 tons in 2015.

Snap bean numbers

Contracted acres for snap beans in Wisconsin increased by 1,500 for a 2016 total of 66,800. The projected .05 ton per acre average yield increase to 5.10 tons would yield a crop of 340,680 tons compared to 329,530 tons in 2015. This would be the largest snap bean crop in the state since 2009.

Across the United States, the contracted acres for snap beans are up by 1,340 from 2015 for a total of 155,060. A slight increase in average per acre yield to 4.83 tons would yield a crop of 748,280 tons compared to 742,900 tons in 2015.

As indicated by those projected numbers, Wisconsin is likely to account for just over 45 percent of the nation's snap bean production in 2016.

Green pea setback

Despite the predicted record high average yield of 2.38 tons per acre, this year's production of processing green peas fell by all but an official 17 percent for the crop on which the harvest is already complete. This year's reported harvest was 67,116 tons compared to 81,120 tons in 2015.

The 34,300 acres contracted for production this year was the same as in 2015. The cutback in production was due to having only 28,200 acres harvested for processing. A significant portion of that drop in harvested 6,100 acres was due to a fire in a major contractor's processing plant in east central Wisconsin at the height of the harvesting season.

A similar trend prevailed across the nation as the number of contracted acres that were harvested fell from 166,200 in 2015 to 141,200 in 2016. The per acre average yield fell by 0.24 ton to 2.23 tons for this year, resulting in a drop of 23 percent in production to 314,880 tons this year.