Lower production estimated for Virginia row crops this year

RICHMOND—While most row crops haven’t been harvested yet, Virginia farmers are bracing themselves for lower yields and less production.

Winter wheat, which already has been harvested in Virginia, yielded 51 bushels per acre, compared to 58 in 2009, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

"Winter wheat is down because it was planted during last year’s wet fall, and the dry spring hurt yield production before the summer harvest," said David Coleman, grain manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. "Right now most crops could fluctuate up or down, but we know the dry, hot weather has impacted many row crops, such as corn. We won’t really know the yields for another month, but some farmers are harvesting corn now."

Corn production is estimated to be 52 percent lower than in 2009. Peanut production is estimated to be down 16 percent, and soybean producers are expecting a drop of 34 percent.

Cotton production is expected to be 25 percent less than last year.

Hay production is estimated to be 17 percent lower for alfalfa hay and 10 percent lower for other types.

While Virginia is expecting lower yields this year, nationwide yields are expected to be higher than those of 2009.

"The nation’s soybean crop should be equal to or just above last year’s totals, and corn will be close to last year. It’s hard to tell since we’re just starting to harvest," Coleman said.

Contact Coleman at 804-290-1105.

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