The U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service has released final crop production estimates for 2012. U.S. corn production decreased 13 percent from last year, while soybean production was down slightly due to drought conditions in the Midwest.
Winter wheat seedings for 2013 increased on the national level by 1 percent. In Delaware, both corn and soybean crops experienced volatile weather which included dry conditions and a hurricane during the growing season. Despite unpredictable weather patterns both crops produced better yields than predicted.
Delaware farmers planted 185,000 acres of corn in 2012, down 5,000 acres from 2011. A total of 178,000 acres were harvested for grain, and 5,000 acres were harvested for silage. Yield for grain is estimated at 135 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from last year, for a total production of 24.0 million bushels. Silage production increased 1,000 tons from 2011 for a total production of 85,000 tons, an average 17 tons per acre.
Delaware farmers planted 170,000 acres of soybeans in 2012, unchanged from last year. A total of 168,000 acres were harvested for beans at an average yield of 42 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from 2011. Total production of soybeans is estimated at 7.1 million bushels. Hay was harvested on 16,000 acres, including 6,000 acres of alfalfa and 10,000 acres of all other types of hay, up 1,000 acres from 2011.
Growers reported an average yield of 2.7 tons per acre for alfalfa hay, as compared with 3.0 tons per acre in 2011, and an average 2.6 tons per acre for all other types of hay, up from 2.3 tons per acre last year. This resulted in 42,000 tons of hay produced, 3,000 tons more than 2011. USDA also released the first forecast of 2013 winter wheat plantings. Delaware farmers planted an estimated 75,000 acres of winter wheat this fall, down 10,000 acres from 2012.