• Corn acreage is down, but production is up in North Carolina
• Rain hampered wheat harvest and most crop planting in the Upper Southeast.
• Soybean and cotton production expected to fall in Upper Southeast this year.
CORN harvest so far indicates an above average yield for North Carolina growers this year.
Excessive rainfall across much of the Upper Southeast forced growers to leave wheat in the ground too long and delayed planting of most crops, with the notable exception of corn.
Not surprisingly, corn seems to be faring well in the cool, rainy conditions, while other crops continue to lag behind.
In North Carolina, corn for grain is projected to average 132 bushels per acre statewide, an increase of 15 bushels per acre from last year. The added production, however, comes with a loss of 60,000 acres, compared to planted corn acreage last year.
Cotton in the Tar Heel state took a loss on both ends, losing another 165,000 acres, compared to 2012’s 415,000 and losing an expected 239 pounds of lint per acre, most of that due to late planting and excessively wet conditions throughout the growing season.
North Carolina leads the Southeast with 1.5 to 1.6 million acres of soybeans annually. Last year growers harvested a record 39 bushels per acre, but this year yields are expected to be cut by nine bushels per acre.
Many double-crop soybeans were planted well into July and a few into August. The fate of this late crop may drop average yields below the 30 bushels per acre forecast by the USDA.
Peanuts also took a double shot, losing 27,000 acres, compared to last year and yield is projected to drop by 500 pounds per acre. Again, late-planted peanuts may increase or decrease the projected yield, depending on digging time weather.
Tobacco area is projected to be up by 6,000 acres over last year, but how many acres were transplanted during heavy rainfall periods in May is uncertain.
Yield forecasts are down by 240 pounds per acre, down from last year’s 2,240 pound per acre from July estimates.
Wheat acreage was up in North Carolina this year, topping 980,000 planted and an estimated 930,000 acres harvested. Yield forecasts range from 60-65 bushels per acre by the North Carolina Small Grains Growers Association to 56 bushels per acre by the USDA.
With harvested acres up by nearly 200,000 from last year, total wheat production is expected to be up significantly over 2012 totals.
Nationwide, corn growers are projected to have similarly good years. U.S. corn growers are expected to produce a record-high 13.8 billion bushels of corn in 2013, according to the Crop Production report issued by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The forecast production is up 28 percent from drought-hit 2012. NASS forecasts this year’s corn yield at 154.4 bushels per acre, the third-highest yield on record.