N.C. crop outlook keeps getting better

by | Sep 14, 2012

When Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler talked with the Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison about the USDA August crop forecast for North Carolina, he was happy that yields were up from a year ago (you can listen to their conversation here). He should be even happier after seeing the September forecast.

Here’s the skinny on what is shaping up to be a fantastic year for field crops in North Carolina.


Picture of corn

The corn harvest in North Carolina is shaping up to be the best in several years.

Yield is forecast at 120 bushels an acre, up six bushels from the August forecast. And production is forecast to total 93.6 million bushels, 37 percent above last year’s harvest even though farmers planted fewer acres of the crop this year.


The cotton yield is estimated at 869 pounds per acre, 32 pounds more than the August estimate. Total production is forecast to be 2 percent higher than last year.


The yield forecast, at 3,700 pounds, is unchanged from August, but still 100 pounds better than in 2011. Production is forecast to be 392.2 million pounds, a 34 percent increase over 2011.


The projected soybean yield inched up two bushels per acre from August to 34. Production on 1.6 million acres is forecast to total 55.4 million bushels, 36 percent better than a year ago.

Flue-cured tobacco

Tobacco was absolutely hammered by Hurricane Irene last year, but this year’s crop is on pace to have its best yield since 2009. Yield per acre is forecast at 2,400 pounds, 150 pounds more than last month. Production is projected at 390 million pounds, 57 percent above the 2011 total.

Farmers continue to harvest and hope the suddenly busy Atlantic hurricane season spares North Carolina from a direct strike. If the weather remains cooperative, farmers should see strong yields combining with high commodity prices to deliver a profitable end to the growing season.