With harvest well underway with many crops, NASS recently issued a crop report on conditions and production estimates.

by | Sep 29, 2023

Summary: The National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released an update on crop conditions and production estimates. It seems to be shaping up to be an average year production wise for many crops.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis 

  • Harvest time is what farmers work all year for. It’s when you see whether your hard work is going to pay off. And, hopefully it does.
  • There are a lot of factors that come into play in the season, especially the weather.
  • Within individual counties we can see a full range of crop conditions from excellent to poor crops, often depending on who got rain and who didn’t, and that seems to be the case this year.
  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released its crop progress and condition report and its production estimate report which provide insight into where we are with harvest and with acreage projections.
  • My takeaway from the NASS reports and notes from our regional field agronomists is that it looks to be an average year in terms of yields and crop conditions, but there are also examples at opposite ends of the spectrum, too.
  • Some farmers are seeing above average yields and excellent crop conditions, but many more are falling in the average range.
  • Some have also reported very poor to poor crop conditions because of the lack of rain.
  • I can report that we have had pretty good rainfall in Guilford County this year where I am.
  • Harvest is moving right along as of Sept. 17, with:
    • 57 percent of apples harvested,
    • 65 percent of grain corn harvested,
    • 82 percent of silage corn harvested,
    • 83 percent of flue-cured tobacco harvested and
    • 62 percent of the third cutting of hay has been harvested.
  • Sweet potatoes are beginning to be harvested, with 19 percent already dug.
  • In terms of production estimates at this point, corn looks to be a bright spot both in yield and production forecast.
  • NASS noted that yield estimates for corn are 147 bushels per acre, which would be up 21 bushels per acre from last year’s yields.
  • With 900,000 acres projected to be harvested, the production forecast for corn is estimated at 132.3 million bushels, up 34 percent from 2022. Last year’s harvested corn acreage was 750,000 acres.
  • I have certainly seen some good corn fields as I have traveled around the state, so I hope these numbers hold.
  • The increase in corn acreage this year came from a shift in production out of cotton. We have seen cotton acreage drop by around 90,000 acres this year.
  • The decrease in acres harvested, plus yields expected to be down by 167 pounds per acre, puts the cotton production forecast down by 32 percent from 2022.
  • The peanut crop also benefited from a production shift, with a 7,000-acre increase in acres, putting projected harvested acres at 123,000.
  • While the estimated yield is down 150 pounds per acre from 2022, the production forecast is expected to be up to about 2 percent at 522.8 million pounds.
  • Soybean acreage dropped by 50,000 acres this year, with production expected to drop by 2 percent compared to last year harvest.
  • Yield is expected to be up half a bushel (.5) per acre. Production estimates for soybeans are 64 million bushels.
  • And finally, the yield for flue-cured tobacco is estimated to be 2,100 pounds per acre, down about 50 pounds per acre.
  • The production forecast for tobacco is 237.4 million pounds, which is down 5 percent. Harvested acres are expected to be 3,000 fewer this year at 116,000.
  • And, many people may not know that work is happening now for the 2024 strawberry season. Farmers have been laying the plastic preparing for the planting of strawberries. I look forward to the start of strawberry season!