Kentucky agricultural cash receipts could reach $6 billion in 2013, boosted by exceptionally strong equine, poultry and cattle markets, according to agricultural economists from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

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 shared their agricultural economic outlook for 2014 and an overview of 2013 during the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation conference Dec. 5 in Louisville.

Official U.S. Department of Agriculture 2013 cash receipts won’t be released until summer 2014, but Snell said exceptional grain crop yields are considerably above national yields, which offsets this year’s much lower prices and a larger percentage of the crop stored for sale next year.

“It’s likely that Kentucky net farm income will remain above the $1.5 billion level we saw in 2011 and 2012, though still fall well below the $2.1 billion record high in 2005, when lump sum tobacco buyout payments inflated income levels,” Snell said. “In recent years, tobacco buyout payments have averaged around $150 million annually, accounting for approximately 10 percent of net farm income, which will have to be earned from the marketplace after our last payment in January.”

Nearly ideal growing conditions across the commonwealth and in some other parts of the country generated much higher crop yields, but crop prices were considerably lower than 2012’s record prices. The USDA is projecting that U.S. net farm income will achieve a record high of $131 billion in 2013, up 15 percent from the previous year and breaking 2011’s record by $13 billion.

With tobacco, increased acreage and higher prices will balance lower yields. Snell predicts this could lead to the highest tobacco crop value since the 2004 tobacco buyout.

Walters said the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s most recent data show Kentucky corn producers are realizing a record yield of 173 bushels per acre, 154 percent higher than 2012’s yield. Soybeans are expected to yield 23 percent more than last year. The Kentucky wheat crop averaged 75 bushels per acre in 2013, which is 21 percent higher than 2012’s yield.

Based on recent sales figures, it appears the upward trajectory in equine receipts experienced in 2011 and 2012 continued in 2013.

Turning to cattle, Burdine said the feeder cattle markets in this year and last gave strong proof of the impact corn prices have on feeder cattle prices.