State earns 10 top agricultural placings in 2015

Ray Mueller

Madison – Wisconsin earned 10 top places among the states for production of agricultural commodities during 2015, according to the annual report issued by the state's office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Four of those top places were in the dairy sector. They included total cheese production of more than 3.07 billion pounds, which represented 25.9 percent of the nation's record high cheese production of more than 11.838 pounds during 2015.

For American type cheeses, Wisconsin's production of 909.94 million pounds accounted for 19.4 percent of the nation's total. For Cheddar cheese, the state's total of 613.467 million pounds was 18.1 percent of the nation's production.

The fourth top placing in the dairy category was Wisconsin's production of 308.582 million pounds of human food grade dry whey. This represented 32.2 percent of the national total.

Second dairy places

Wisconsin's record high milk production of 29.03 billion pounds during 2015 accounted for 13.9 percent of the nation's total. California maintained its top ranking for milk production along with first places for both Italian-type and mozzarella cheeses.

For Italian cheeses, Wisconsin ranked second with a 2015 production of more than 1.537 billion pounds or 30.2 percent of the national total. The state's production of more than 1.051 billion pounds of mozzarella cheese accounted for 26.3 percent of the nation's total.

Livestock sector

In a number that was likely to be greatly enhanced during 2016, Wisconsin maintained its No. 1 ranking for milk goats in 2015 with a total of 44,000 head at the end of the year. The state also held onto its top ranking for mink pelt production in with a total of 1.317 million or 35.1 percent of the national total during 2015.

Wisconsin's herd of 1.28 million dairy cows ranked second to California's total of 1.776 million. In other categories, Wisconsin stood eighth for the sale of trout 12 inches of longer with 440,000 pounds, ninth with 3.5 million head of all cattle and calves and 11th for the production of honey with 3.484 million pounds.

Crop sector placings

In the crop categories, Wisconsin claimed four top places among the states in 2015. The most dominant was the production of 4.856 million barrels of cranberries — 56.7 percent of the nation's total. The state's production of 330,000 tons of snap beans for processing accounted for 43.1 percent of the national crop.

Wisconsin again placed first with its production of 18.915 million tons of corn silage in 2015. It also claimed first place in 2015 with its harvest of 14.04 million bushels of oats — a title that it relinquished in 2016 as the state's production plunged by 53 percent.

The state had a second place with its production of the dry weight equivalent of 8.967 million tons of forage, a category that was led by Texas. Third places for Wisconsin in 2015 included 27.5 million hundredweight of potatoes, 490,000 tons of sweet corn for processing and 81,000 tons of green peas for processing.

Wisconsin was fourth in 2015 with a production of 215,000 gallons of maple syrup, fifth with 9.3 million pounds of tart cherries, sixth in strawberry production with 34,000 hundredweight, ninth in corn for grain with 492 million bushels and 10th in apple production with 51.5 million pounds.