Final report nips state's crop yields

Ray Mueller
Now Media Group


The final report for the production of Wisconsin's major crops, issued on Jan. 12, slightly reduced the per acre and overall yields for corn and soybeans that were predicted on Nov. 1.

Down by 3 percent from that earlier forecast, the state's corn for grain production was placed at 492 million bushels on an estimated per acre average yield of 164 bushels, which is 1 bushel less than was indicated on Nov. 1. Nonetheless, this is the state's highest per acre average yield for corn grain, topping the previous record set in 2010 by 3 bushels.

Corn acres down

The number of acres harvested for corn grain, estimated at 3 million in the final report, was down by 60,000 from the Nov. 1 forecast and was 110,000 less acres than were harvested in 2014, when the state's corn grain production was 485.16 million bushels.

Planted acres of corn were estimated at 4 million for 2015, which was down by 50,000 from the November 1 report but the same as the final number for 2014. Of the remaining corn acres, about 970,000 were harvested for silage, which had an average per acre dry matter yield of 19.5 tons, up by 1 ton from 2014.

This was an increase of 120,000 corn silage acres from 2014. As a result of the increases in per acre yield and harvested acres, the state's corn silage production of 18.9 million tops was up by 20 percent from 2014.

Soybean statistics

Contrary to some expectations that Wisconsin's soybean growers would set a record on per acre yields in 2015, the final report put that number at 49.5 bushels per acre. This was down by .5 bushel from the Nov. 1 forecast, 4.5 bushels above the 2014 average yield, and 1 bushel less than the record high average yield of 50.5 bushels per acre in 2010.

The revised numbers put the state's soybean production at a record high 92.565 million bushels for 2015. This was an increase of 18 percent from the 78.76 million bushels in 2014.

Unlike with corn, the number of soybean acres was revised upward in the Jan. 12 final report. The 1.87 million harvested acres were increases of 10,000 from the Nov. 1 forecast and of 80,000 compared to 2014.

Hay production down

Also contrary to some earlier anecdotal indications, the production in both categories of hay in Wisconsin posted a decrease during 2015, according to the final report by the state's field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

For alfalfa and alfalfa hay mixtures, Wisconsin's 2014 crop of 3.36 million dry matter tons was down by 19 percent from 2014. The average per acre yield of 2.8 tons was .5 ton less than in 2014.

The 1.2 million harvested acres in 2015 was a cutback of 50,000 from 2014. New seedings of alfalfa totaled 440,000 acres in 2015, down by 10,000 from the previous year.

On other types of hay, Wisconsin's 2015 production of 713,000 tons was 4 percent less than in 2014. Harvested acres were down by 80,000 to 310,000 but the average yield of 2.3 tons per acre was up by .4 ton from 2014.

Potato production

The 2015 summary report also noted that Wisconsin's potato production of 27.5 million hundredweight (cwt) was up by 4 percent from 2014. The per acre estimated yield of 440 cwt was up by 30 cwt from a year earlier but the number of harvested acres was down by 1,500 to 62,500 for 2015.

For the United States, the 2015 production of 404.513 million cwt of potatoes was a slight increase from 2014. Per acre average yields were down by 3 cwt to 431 cwt but the number of harvested acres was up by 6,600 to 937,700.

National statistics

As in Wisconsin, the final report for the United States for corn and soybeans assigned lower per acre and total yields compared to the earlier estimates. Nonetheless, soybeans set a national production yield of nearly 3.93 billion bushels.

The per acre average yield for soybeans also set a record of 48 bushels per acre, which was down by .3 bushel from the Nov. 1 forecast but .5 bushel more than in 2014. The 81.849 million harvested acres represented a decline of 742,000 acres from 2014.

Corn for grain production was placed at slightly above 13.601 billion bushels, which was down by nearly 617 million bushels or 4 percent from 2014. The per acre average yield of 168.4 bushels for corn grain was down .9 bushel from the Nov. 1 estimate and 2.6 bushels from the record high average of 171 bushels in 2014.

The 80.749 million acres harvested for corn grain was up slightly from the Nov. 1 forecast but down by 2.387 million acres from 2014.

The nation's production of 126.894 million tons of corn silage was down by 1.154 million tons from 2014 although the average yield per acre was up by .3 ton to 20.4 tons. Harvested acres were down by 150,000 to 6.221 million in 2015.