The September Crop Report from USDA firmly grasps the obvious: Hurricane Irene hammered North Carolina’s tobacco crop.
The latest production forecast says the flue-cured tobacco crop will yield 1,650 pounds per acre. That’s a 500-pound drop since the August report. It’s also well below the 10-year average of 2,100 pounds per acre. Production is now forecast to be 283.8 million pounds, 19 percent less than 2010.
Cotton also took a hit from the storm, with the yield now forecast to be 720 pounds per acre, a decrease of 106 pounds from August. The 2010 yield was 838 pounds per acre, and the average is 756 pounds.
Corn already was suffering from the drought, with a yield forecast of 81 bushels per acre in August. Irene knocked that yield down to 78 bushels per acre. That’s a drop of 13 bushels from last year and far below the 10-year average of 106 bushels per acre.
As production costs rise, it puts more pressure on farmers to have a good yield. A poor yield can cause a farmer to lose money. For some farmers, a loss this year will make it more difficult financially for them to plant a crop next year.
Peanuts and soybeans faring OK
The peanut yield remains unchanged from August, at 3,300 pounds per acre. That’s 500 pounds higher than last year and slightly above the 10-year average of 3,080 pounds. Production is forecast at 267.3 million pounds, which is 11 percent higher than last year.
Soybeans are forecast to yield 29 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from August and close to the 10-year average of 29.6 bushels per acre. Production is forecast to be 40.3 million bushels, the same as last year.