Continuing dry weather hurts Missouri crop yields

Thursday, October 13, 2011

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri's agriculture statistician says lack of rainfall across the entire state in the last several weeks has made it easy to harvest this year's crops, but yields are falling as soil moisture evaporates.

"The extreme growing conditions of this season have continued on through harvest," said Gene Danekas, director of USDA-Missouri Agricultural Statistics. "Well below normal rainfall the last two months has provided little to improve this year's crops."

The ag statistics office estimates, based on rainfall up to Oct. 1, that Missouri farmers will see about 115 bushels per acre of corn this harvest season. That's down eight bushels an acre from last year, and five bushels from the Sept. 1 forecast.

Farmers planted more acreage in corn over the last year, but the overall total of bushels harvested this year will be 359 million. That's three percent below last year and four percent below the September estimates.

Soybean yields are predicted to end up at about 37 bushels per acre, down four-and-a-half bushels per acre from last year and two bushels per acre below the Sept. 1 estimates. Again, farmers planted more acres than expected this year, but total production is estimated at 194 million bushels, down eight percent as compared to last year.

Missouri's statistics mirror the nation's outputs, where corn and soybean harvests are running behind last year's totals. Overall, corn yields in the United States are at their lowest since 2005.

Missouri's rice farmers are realizing record production, those who weren't flooded out, that is. The ag statistics office reports record yields of 7,200 pounds per acre on the average. But acres for harvest are estimated at 128,000, the lowest since 1997. Flooding throughout Southeast Missouri caused many farmers to miss out on the growing season.

Alfalfa hay production is down 8 percent from last year at 616,000 tons. All other hay production is estimated at 5.76 million tons, down 16 percent from last year.

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