A good yield

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The United States is predicting corn and soybean crop production to be at near-record levels this year. Locally, those crops are faring well, too, thanks to favorable weather.

“Late in the summer part of the season, we did get adequate rain,” said John Rudy, executive director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Southampton County. “Overall we do expect a good yield on the corn and also on the beans because the beans have benefited from the late rain.”

“These sunny days are just what we need for continuing maturity on crops, and they have certainly been a good aid on the harvest,” Suffolk Extension Agent Rex Cotten told the Suffolk News-Herald.

Both Southampton County and Isle of Wight County are currently searching for extension agents. Suffolk is the closest local office.

There are 191 corn producers in Southampton County and 224 soybean producers, Rudy said.

“Many of these producers do grow both crops,” he said.

Estimates from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services indicate that the state’s soybean producers are expected to harvest about 21.5 million bushels this year, up about 18 percent from last year.

Virginia corn yields are forecast to average 128 bushels per acre, up 20 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, production would be 45.4 million bushels, up 24 percent from 2008. Producers expect to harvest 355,000 acres for grain this year.

Virginia’s soybean yields are expected to be 37 bushels per acre which is five bushels per acre greater than last year. Production is estimated at 21.5 million bushels, up 18 percent from 2008. Harvested acres are at 580,000, up 10,000 acres from last year.

Nationally, corn production is forecast at 13.0 billion bushels, up 8 percent from last year and down only 0.2 percent from the 2007 record. Corn yield is expected to average 164.2 bushels per acre, up 10.3 bushels above last year. If realized, this yield will be the highest on record. Corn growers are expected to harvest 79.3 million acres, down 1 percent from the September forecast.

Soybean production remains on target for a record-high year and is forecast at 3.25 billion bushels, up 10 percent from 2008. Based on October 1 conditions, soybean yields are expected to average 42.4 bushels per acre, up 2.7 percent from 2008. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record. Growers are expected to harvest 76.6 million acres of soybeans, which is the largest area on record.

Numbers are from the Crop Production report, released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The October Crop Production report contains estimates of yield and production for corn, soybeans and other spring-planted row crops, in addition to the U.S. citrus production and yield. NASS interviewed nearly 15,000 producers to obtain probable yield. These growers will continue to be surveyed during the growing season to provide indication of average yields.

After a big jump in the 2007 growing season, acreage devoted to corn for grain has fallen significantly during the past two years, judging from a comparison of FSA estimates of this year’s crop and statistics from past years compiled by the NASS, according to VDACS.

Still, VDACS predicts that corn yields will be up around the state this year, resulting in a production increase of as much as 24 percent.

Soybean crops look like good ones this year.

“Soybeans are fruiting up well,” Cotten said. “They look to have quite a bit of promise.”