State record crops predicted for corn, soybeans

Ray Mueller


Despite a reduction from the projections issued a month earlier, the October forecast predicts that Wisconsin's corn growers will harvest a record-high crop while also setting a record-high average yield per acre.

Based on crop conditions as of October 1, the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast a corn yield of 548.7 million bushels, which was about 2 percent less than the September projection. That cutback was linked to the 100,000 acre reduction from a month earlier in planted acres and acres being harvested for grain — to 4.1 and 3.1 million, respectively.

The Oct. 1 report estimated an average corn grain yield of 177 bushels per acre, which would be 13 bushels more than in 2015 and up by 2 bushels from the September 1 forecast.

A record high corn crop of 15.057 billion bushels was forecast for the United States. This is based on an average yield of 173.4 bushels per acre from 86.636 million harvested acres. Those would be increases of 11 percent in the total crop and of 5 bushels per acre compared to 2015.

Wisconsin's soybean crop is forecast to set a record high.

Soybeans setting record

Wisconsin's soybean crop is also forecast to set a record high of 101.4 million bushels, which would be an increase of 9.5 percent from 2015. The record crop would come from 1.95 million harvested acres — up by 80,000 from 2015.

This year's average yield is projected to be 52 bushels per acre. This would be 2.5 bushels more than in 2015 and 1.5 bushel above the standing record-high average yield per acre set in 2010.

The per-acre yield is the same as was forecast for crop conditions as of Sept. 1, but the latest update added 10,000 acres to the year's planting and harvest of soybeans in the state.

The latest projections, however, do not account for losses due to floods in the parts of the state and to harvest delays and possible pre-harvest losses due to frequent rains in October. Another update, current as of Nov. 1, will be released Nov. 9.

A record soybean crop was also forecast for the United States this year. The potential record crop of nearly 4.269 billion bushels would come from 83.047 million harvested acres with an average yield of 51.4 bushels per acre. Compared to 2015, those would be increases of 9 percent for the crop, 2 percent in harvested acres and 3.4 bushels in yield per acre.

Much more alfalfa hay

With the year's harvest virtually completed in Wisconsin, the Oct. 1 report indicated a 43 percent increase this year compared to 2015 in the production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay. The harvest of 4.81 million tons came from 1.3 acres (up by 100,000), while the average yield of 3.7 tons per acre was up by 0.9 ton from a year ago.

But the production of dry hay from other forage species continues to decline in Wisconsin. Although the number of harvested acres was up by 20,000 from 2015 to a total of 330,000 this year, the year's production was down by 26 percent.

This year's harvest of other dry hay was reported to be 528,000 tons. The average yield of 1.6 tons per acre was down by 0.7 ton from 2015.

Across the United States, the 2016 hay harvests posted modest increases compared to 2015. Unlike in Wisconsin, harvested acres of forage species other than alfalfa more than doubled the number for alfalfa.

The harvest of 78.756 million tons of dry hay from species other than alfalfa from 38.062 million acres was a production increase of 4.4 percent because of the addition of 1.4 million harvested acres. The nation's harvest of 62.817 million tons of alfalfa hay with an average yield of 3.48 tons from 18.065 million acres (up by nearly 300,000) was an increase of 6.5 percent from 2015.