This Week’s Headlines
Did you hear about Virginia corn? (Editorial)
Here’s the crop forecast in Virginia: Soybean, cotton and peanut yields will be up, but according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the 2014 corn crop in Virginia is forecast at 51.8 million bushels, down seven percent from last year.
... Say what?
A bin-busting corn crop is being forecast across the country, including in its neighbor Maryland, and the summer of 2014, blessed with timely rain and comfortable temperatures, has boosted anticipated yields in soybeans, cotton and peanuts, but yields in corn in Virginia will be down seven percent?
Well, say Virginia Department of Agricultural officials, it depends on what the comparison is based.
Here’s the situation: The average corn yield in Virginia this year is forecast at 140 bushels per acre, down 14 bushels from last year.
Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 370,000, up 10,000 acres from last year.
This year is still “a very good year” said ag officials, but 2013 was a record year for Virginia so 2014 seems worse in comparison.
So, stack up 140 bushels an acre against the average corn yields in the commonwealth for the last five years.
It looks like this:
* * *
2009: 131 bushels an acre; 2010: 67 bushels an acre; 2011: 118 bushels an acre; 2012: 103 bushels an acre; and 2013: 154 bushels an acre.
So, what was the difference between 2013 ad 2014? Weather, of course.
State ag officials noted that this year’s weather has been mixed for the most part.
Some areas are drier than others. Dry weather affected the crop during the development stage, “but again, it’s still a good year,” they said.
And remember, the 140 bushels an acre is still a guess. Virginia corn producers could fool the NASS prognosticators.
The farmers hope so, and so do we.