State's wheat, oat yields diverge in 2016

Ray Mueller

Madison — Winter wheat production was up significantly while production of oats plunged during 2016 in Wisconsin.

The state's winter wheat crop came in at 19.75 million bushels compared to 15.54 million in 2015 but oats production slipped to 6.6 million bushels after hitting 14.04 million bushels in 2015.

How those numbers came about was detailed in the county production estimates reported within the past week by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For winter wheat, Calumet County posted the state's highest average yield of 92.6 bushels on 7,420 harvested acres for a total of 687,000 bushels. Columbia and Dane counties were next with 90.1 and 88.7 bushel average per acre yields, respectively.

The state's average yield per acre was 79 bushels compared to 74 in 2015. Vernon County had the lowest average for 2016 with 52.5 bushels per acre.

Top wheat counties

Manitowoc County's total of 1.382 million bushels from 17,000 harvested acres with a per acre average yield of 81.3 bushels was the highest total for any county in the state. With nearly 14,000 harvested acres each and average per acre yields of 87.5 and 88.7 bushels, Dodge and Dane counties had 2016 crops of 1.208 and 1.206 million bushels, respectively.

Other top counties were Fond du Lac with 1.172 million bushels from 13,800 harvested acres and Sheboygan with 1.009 million bushels from 11,700 harvested acres. Their respective per acre yield averages were 84.5 and 86.2 bushels.

Of the 270,000 acres reported as planted with winter wheat, 250,000 were harvested for grain this year. In 2015, those numbers were 230,000 planted and 210,000 harvested.

Cutback for oats

Despite the major cutback on oats production, some impressive per county yields were calculated. Washington County smashed all existing records in that category with an average yield of 115 bushels per acre — up by 16 bushels from 2015 — on the 2,000 acres that were harvested from the 2,200 that were planted.

Calumet County placed 2nd with an average yield of 85.5 bushels per acre, but only 1,130 of its 1,700 planted acres were harvested for grain. The county had planted 3,600 acres and harvested 2,390 of them for grain in 2015.

Langlade County retained its top spot in oats production with 653,000 bushels, but that was down from 976,000 bushels in 2015. Its average per acre yield of 83.1 bushels on 7,860 harvested acres placed third in the state.

Grant County reported a yield of 515,000 bushels from 7,200 harvested acres. Marathon County's crop of 338,000 bushels was well below its 2015 harvest of 903,000 bushels as its harvested acres fell to 5,800 after being at 9,700 in 2015 and per acre yield slipped by 13 bushels to 58.3 in 2016.

Oats acres harvested for grain fell to 100,000 in 2016 from the 195,000 in 2015. The state's average per acre yield was 66 bushels compared to 72 bushels in 2015.