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State agency releases expected crop yields

Daily Staff Reports

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services presented a mix bag of expected crop yields on Thursday.

The VDACS released its estimates for soybean, cotton, corn, peanut and tobacco yields across the state.

Using conditions up to Oct. 1, Virginia corn farmers can expect to average 95 bushels per acre, down from 118 bushels last year - a 19 percent drop. The state's total production yield is expected to be about 33 million bushels, a 17 percent drop from 2011, the release states.

That's compared to the national corn yield average of 122 bushels per acre, down about 25 bushels over the past year, according to the release.

"If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 1995," the release states.

With nearly 11 billion bushels of corn expected to be harvested nationwide, this year is the lowest corn production year since 2006, according to the release.

When it comes to soybeans, farmers appear to have fared better, with the state average down about one bushel an acre from last year's record 40 bushels, it states. About 23 million bushels are expected to be harvested, a 3 percent jump from last year.

That is also higher than the U.S. average, predicted to be at just under 38 bushels an acre, according to the release.

The alfalfa hay crop is also up this year, at 312,000 tons, an 8 percent rise. The yield for other hay has stayed the same at 2.2 tons an acre, according to the release.

And, the cotton crop is better than last year's, which suffered hurricane damage, the release states. Cotton farms are expected to get 960 pounds an acre - up 284 pounds over last year - for a total of 170,000 bales, a 5 percent increase.

Two types of tobacco are up this year, according to the release, and the third down. Burley tobacco is expected to yield 5.1 million pounds, up 1.3 million from 2011, and flue-cured tobacco is predicted to be at 48 million pounds, up about 4.5 million pounds.

Fire-cured tobacco, on the other hand, is expected to come out at 703,000 pounds, a 16 percent drop, according to the release.

When it comes to peanuts, the crop is expected to surpass last year's by 30 percent, with 80 million pounds, according to the release. However, per-acre yield is down from last year's national record of 4,100 pounds an acre, with a 100-pound drop, it states.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com

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