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USDA releases 2012 crop report

Maryland soybean yield sets record high
February 11, 2013
Maryland and Delaware farmers fared better than expected in overall crop yields. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY

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. Winter wheat seedings for 2013 increased on the national level by 1 percent. In Maryland and 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.

Maryland farmers planted 495,000 acres of corn in 2012, down 5,000 acres from 2011. Of the 495,000 acres planted, 435,000 acres were harvested for grain, 55,000 acres were cut for silage, and the remaining 5,000 acres were abandoned. Yield for grain averaged 122 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from last year’s 109 bushels per acre. Production totaled 53.1 million bushels, a 13 percent increase from 2011. Silage yield is estimated at 19 tons per acre, up 3 ton from last year. Total silage production was 1.05 million tons, up 9 percent from last year.

Maryland farmers planted 480,000 acres of soybeans in 2012, up 10,000 acres from 2011. From the 480,000 acres of soybeans planted, 475,000 acres were harvested for beans, also up 10,000 acres from 2011. Soybean yields averaged a record 47 bushels per acre, up 8 bushels from the 2011 average yield of 39 bushels an acre. Production of soybeans is estimated at 22.3 million bushels. Hay production was down 12 percent from 2011 to 514,000 tons in 2012. Alfalfa production is estimated at 129,000 tons, at an average yield of 4.3 tons per acre, and the production of all other types of hay is estimated at 385,000 tons of hay, at an average yield of 2.2 tons per acre. USDA also released the first forecast of 2013 winter wheat plantings. Winter wheat planted acres in Maryland for 2013 is forecast at 330,000 acres, up 20,000 acres from 2012. If realized the estimate of 330,000 planted acres.

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.

Nationwide, corn for grain production is estimated at 10.8 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the November 1 forecast but 13 percent below 2011. The average yield in the United States is estimated at 123.4 bushels per acre. This is up 1.1 bushels from the November forecast but 23.8 bushels below the 2011 average yield of 147.2. Area harvested for grain is estimated at 87.4 million acres, down slightly from the November forecast but up 4 percent from 2011.

Soybean production 2012 totaled 3.01 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the November 1 forecast but down 3 percent from 2011. United States production is the seventh largest on record. The average yield per acre is estimated at 39.6 bushels, 0.3 bushel above the November 1 forecast but 2.3 bushels below last year's yield. Harvested area is up 3 percent from 2011 to 76.1 million acres and is the third highest on record.