Preliminary U.S. Department of Agriculture reports indicate Kentucky agricultural cash receipts for January through September totaled $3.6 billion, 10 percent higher than 2011’s record level for the same period.

Despite weather impacts on yield and high feed costs, agricultural economists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture foresee 2012’s cash receipts in the state will total $5.3 billion.

Will Snell, Kenny Burdine, Cory Walters and Tim Woods, all from UK’s Department of Agricultural Economics, along with Kentucky Farm Business Management Program coordinator Jerry Pierce and Jeff Stringer from the UK Department of Forestry presented a 2013 Kentucky farm economic outlook and an overview of 2012 as part of the annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation conference in Louisville.

Official USDA 2012 cash receipts for Kentucky won’t be released until summer 2013, but Snell said the UK economists are seeing high returns in corn, cattle and tobacco and improvement in the equine sector. The typical range for net farm income in Kentucky is between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

“Boosted by significant crop insurance payments, net farm income for 2012 will be toward the high end of that range, but well below the $2.1 billion record high achieved in 2005 following the tobacco buyout,” he said.

In the midst of one of the nation’s worst droughts, the USDA is projecting U.S. net farm income for 2012 to remain near record levels at $114 billion, just 3 percent below the previous record set in 2011.

Snell noted that export value remained near record levels in 2012.

“Just as in 2011, high prices were very effective in offsetting lower volume, a slight appreciation of the U.S. dollar and weak global economic growth,” he said.

Despite significant yield losses, corn receipts for 2012 will continue to rival poultry as Kentucky’s top agricultural enterprise.

“Responding to higher prices, producers planted additional acres this year, which helped keep production from going lower,” Walters said.

Walters said there would be fewer ending stocks, especially for corn and soybeans, approaching the upcoming planting season, and prices will continue to be strong, providing incentive for growers to produce more.

“A normal or better growing season coupled with increased planted acreage will put heavy downward pressure on prices,” he said. “Alternatively, a poor growing season will result in a repeat of 2012 price action.”

In the poultry industry, broiler production declined slightly in 2012 after hitting a peak in 2011, but exports hit a record high and accounted for more than 19 percent of production.

Higher 2012 prices have partially offset increased feed costs, reducing the impact on overall production levels. The USDA predicts exports will remain at high levels, leaving less than 80 pounds of chicken per person on the domestic market, which is the lowest level in 10 years. UK agricultural economist Lee Meyer believes prices are likely to rise 5 to 10 percent in 2013.