Kentucky Ag News

Kentucky marks fourth year of favorable wheat yields


National Agricultural Statistics Service


LOUISVILLE - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its July crop condition report recently based on the Agricultural Yield survey conducted at the beginning of the month. The telephone survey queried about 75 farms in Kentucky.

“Kentucky growers continue to raise good wheat crops,” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “This is the fourth consecutive year yields have averaged above 70 bushels per acre.”

Kentucky farmers are forecast to harvest 30.3 million bushels of winter wheat during 2016. Growers expect a yield of 74.0 bushels per acre, up 1.0 bushel from 2015 and up 2.0 bushel from June. The expected total production would be down 6 percent from the previous year. The forecast was based on crop conditions as of July 1 and increased 3 percent from the June forecast. Farmers seeded 540,000 acres last fall with 410,000 acres to be harvested for grain. Acres for other uses totaled 130,000 and was used as a cover crop for tobacco or cut as silage or hay.

Overall, the month of June experienced above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. While there were some reports of lodging as well as stripe rust, producers have been pleased with yields and quality. Crop conditions as of June 19 were rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 12% fair, 62% good, and 22% excellent. Eighty-four percent of wheat was rated as good to excellent, compared to 83 percent on May 29. Wheat harvest has been in full swing since mid-June and is nearly completed. As of July 3, 95% of the crop was harvested, compared to 87% last year and 86% for the five-year average.

Winter wheat production for the nation was forecast at 1.63 billion bushels, up 8 percent from the June 1 forecast and up 19 percent from 2015. Based on July 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at a record high 53.9 bushels per acre, up 3.4 bushels from last month and up 11.4 bushels from last year. The expected area to be harvested for grain or seed totals 30.2 million acres, down 6 percent from last year.