Kentucky Ag News


Christian County tops winter wheat production estimates


National Agricultural Statistics Service


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the first of its county estimates today from the 2017 production year. These estimates are based on farmer-reported information from the Small Grains County Agricultural Production Survey and the September Agricultural Survey.


Christian County is the leading wheat producing county in Kentucky for 2017, with production totaling 4,222,000 bushels, harvested from 53,000 acres. The top five counties, which account for 55 percent of Kentucky’s wheat production, include:

  • Christian County – 4,222,000 bushels
  • Logan County – 3,382,000 bushels
  • Todd County – 2,330,000 bushels
  • Simpson County – 1,966,000 bushels
  • Graves County – 1,364,000 bushels


Wayne County had the highest yield at 84.4 bushels per acre. The top five counties for yield include:

  • Wayne County – 84.4 bushels per acre
  • Meade County – 83.8 bushels per acre
  • Union County – 83.1 bushels per acre
  • Caldwell County – 82.8 bushels per acre
  • Daviess County – 81.2 bushels per acre


“Production was lower than 2016 for most counties, primarily because fewer acres were harvested in 2017,” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “Yields were better than average, but generally lower than 2016. Freezing temperatures in mid-March took out some of the acreage, but the weather conditions for the remaining grain was good. For the second year in a row harvest conditions were favorable, allowing for a quick harvest and good quality grain.”

Kentucky farmers harvested 23.9 million bushels of winter wheat during the summer of 2017, down 25 percent from 2016. Yield statewide is 77 bushels per acre, down three bushels from 2016. Farmers harvested 310,000 acres for grain, and another 170,000 acres were used as cover crop, cut as forage or abandoned. Kentucky ranks 14th in U.S. winter wheat production.

County-level estimates are used by other USDA agencies to set standards for insurance and risk protection programs many farmers rely on to protect their operations.

“Farm Service Agency (FSA) relies on the county-level estimates for Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), County Loan Rates, and its disaster program calculations,” Knopf said. “The Risk Management Agency (RMA) uses the data for administering the Area Risk Protection Insurance Plan, establishment of transitional yields, and determining when to make crop loss insurance payments. When drought and flooding impact crop production, or even in a year with good yields, these data are crucial to the agriculture industry.”