Added acres boost state's record corn crop

Ray Mueller

Madison — The summary report for 2016 crop production issued on Jan. 12 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service credited Wisconsin with a record high production of grain corn for the year — 15 million more bushels than were estimated for the update report given in November.

According to the final report on the year's production, Wisconsin's corn growers harvested 573.16 million bushels of corn from their 2016 crop. This smashed the previous record of 515 million bushels set in 2010.

More corn acres

The change from the November prediction was due to an increase of 120,000 harvested acres for a total of 3.22 million. This was also an increase of 220,000 acres harvested for corn grain from the total in 2015.

According to the summary report, Wisconsin's corn grain yield per acre in 2016 averaged 178 bushels — down by 2 bushels from the Nov. 1 estimate. But this was still 14 more bushels per acre more than the previous record average of 164 bushels set in 2015.

The increase in grain corn acres cut into the number of acres harvested for corn silage in 2016, the report indicated. That number dropped by 180,000 acres from 2015 to a 2016 total of 790,000. Although the average yield of 21 tons per acre was 1.5 tons more than in 2015, the corn silage production of 16.59 million tons was down by 12 percent from a year earlier.

No changes for soybeans

Earlier estimates for Wisconsin record highs of an average yield of 55 bushels per acre and a production of 107.25 million bushels of soybeans were confirmed in the January summary report. These were increases of 5.5 bushels per acre and 14.685 million bushels of production from 2015.

The totals of planted and harvested acres of soybeans also set record highs in 2016. Those numbers were 1.96 million planted and 1.95 million harvested acres — both up by 80,000 from 2015.

Similar to previous reports, oats production in Wisconsin plunged in 2016 – 6.6 million bushels compared to 14.04 million in 2015. The number of harvested acres dropped by 95,000 to a total of 100,000 in 2016 and the average yield of 66 bushels per acre was down by 6 bushels from 2015.

Alfalfa production cut

Although the average yield per acre was up, the production total for alfalfa hay dropped slightly in Wisconsin for 2016. This was due to the estimated decrease of 200,000 in harvested acres, putting the year's total at 1 million.

Yields on the alfalfa acres, which includes those in which alfalfa is a mix, averaged 3.2 tons per acre in 2016 compared to 2.8 tons in 2015. The production of 3.2 million tons was down by 5 percent from the 3.36 million tons in 2015.

For other hay species, Wisconsin's 2016 production of 726,000 tons was up from the 713,000 tons in 2015. This was due to an increase of 20,000 harvested acres to a total of 330,000 while the average yield per acre slipped by 0.1 ton to an average of 2.2 tons in 2016.

National production

Across the United States, the summary report for 2016 indicated that the production of both grain corn and soybeans were down by about 1 percent from the November forecast. The production of corn silage and oats were down from 2015 while the crop for all hay species was up slightly.

The 2016 corn for grain production estimate is 15.148 billion bushels on an average yield of 174.6 bushels from 86.748 million harvested acres. Compared to 2015, those are increases of 1.546 billion bushels, 6.2 bushels per acre and 5.995 million harvested acres.

For soybeans, the record production of nearly 4.307 billion bushels was a 10 percent jump from the more than 3.926 billion bushels in 2015. The average yield of 52.1 bushels per acre broke the previous record set in 2015 by 4.1 bushels. The record high of 82.736 million harvested acres was an increase of 1.004 million from 2015.

Production of all hay species on 53.461 million acres in the United States during 2016 was an estimated 134.781 million tons — up by 279,000 tons from 2015. The average yield of 2.52 tons per acre was up by 0.05 ton from 2015.

Potato production

The production numbers for potatoes in both Wisconsin and the United States remained relatively stable in 2016 compared to 2015.

Wisconsin's production of 28.058 million hundredweight (cwt) was an increase of 245,000 tons from 2015. The average yield per acre fell by 10 cwt to 435 for 2016 while the number of harvested acres was up by 2,000 to 64,500 in 2016.

Potato production of 440.725 million cwt in the United States during 2016 was down by 480,000 cwt from 2015. The average yield of 437 cwt per acre was up by 19 cwt, but the 1.0077 million harvested acres was a decrease of 46,700 acres from 2015.