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Unexpected bumper crops

loading corn into truck
FILL ‘ER UP: It was hard to keep up with the combine this harvest season, thanks to excellent corn and soybean yields.
Wisconsin’s corn and soybean harvests were better than expected.

A cool, wet spring and summer had many Wisconsin farmers fearing crops wouldn’t mature and yields would suffer. But an unusually warm September and October and a late first killing frost helped yields as farmers harvested another bumper crop of corn and soybeans in 2017.

According to the Nov. 9 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service crop production report, the state is forecast to average 168 bushels of corn per acre. Soybeans are expected to average 46 bushels per acre.

Record soybean acres
“It’s not the record yields we saw in 2016, but the yields are much better than expected,” says Greg Bussler, state statistician for the USDA NASS Wisconsin field office. The 2016 corn crop set a record at 178 bushels per acre.

“We had a record-high number of acres harvested for soybeans in Wisconsin in 2017,” Bussler says. “We harvested 2.14 million acres, which is 190,000 more acres than in 2016.”

According to Bussler, the final production estimates for the 2017 growing season will be published in the Crop Production 2017 Summary Report, to be released on Jan. 12.

“In 2017, Wisconsin farmers produced a total of 496 million bushels of corn, which is down 77.6 million bushels,” Bussler says. The 2016 crop beat the record set in 2011 of 515 million bushels.

Soybeans also fared well in the Dairy State this year. Soybean production is forecast at 98.4 million bushels in 2017, compared to 107.3 million bushels in 2016, according to the USDA NASS crop production report. The Nov. 9 forecast yield for soybeans is 46 bushels per acre, 9 bushels less than the record-setting 55 bushels per acre in 2016. The previous record soybean yield of 50.5 bushels per acre was set in 2010.

EXCELLENT YIELDS: Wisconsin farmers were pleasantly surprised at how well their corn and soybeans yielded this fall, despite a cool, wet spring and summer.

“Overall I think farmers were quite pleased with yields despite the cool, wet weather we had through summer,” Bussler says. “I think the warm weather we had in the fall and the late first killing frost was a big help.”

Record U.S. yields
“The U.S. had excellent yields in 2017, too,” Bussler says. “The national soybean average yield is 49.5 bushels, down from 52 bushels in 2016, which was a record.”

Bussler says soybean production in 2017 for the U.S. is forecast at 4.43 billion bushels, which is a record. In 2016, U.S. farmers produced 4.3 billion bushels of soybeans. The area for harvest of soybeans in the U.S. is forecast at a record 89.5 million acres. Twelve states had record soybean yields in 2017: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Corn production for the nation is forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down 4% from 2016. Based on conditions as of Nov. 10, yields are expected to average 175.4 bushels per acre, up 0.8 bushel from 2016.

“If realized, this will be the highest corn yield on record for the United States,” Bussler says. “The area harvested for corn is forecast at 83.1 million acres, down 4% from 2016.”

Bussler notes there were record corn yields in nine states: Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Wisconsin’s corn and soybean yields compare well with Iowa’s. Iowa’s corn yield is expected to average 197 bushels per acre in 2017, 6 bushels per acre less than the previous year. Iowa’s soybeans are forecast to average 56 bushels per acre, 4 bushels less than the record set in 2016.

TAGS: Corn Soybeans
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