Virginia's 2008 statistical list of "Agriculture's Top 20" was recently released. This report from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ranks the top crops in the state in order of their return of cash receipts to producers during the year.
The latest "hit parade" released by VDACS had a few surprises from 2007 as well as changes from the previous month, particularly regarding corn, wheat and wine grapes. Topping the list are some old standbys, however. According to the Nov. 2, 2009, report, the top five cash producing crops in 2008 are unchanged from the 2007 rankings. Broilers ranked #1 in cash receipts again with $563 million in cash receipt value. That is up a bit from 2007 when broilers brought in $559 million.
Cattle/calves came in second at $396 million in 2008, down from $416 million in 2007. Although down from the previous year, that total was high enough for the crop to retain its #2 ranking. Milk was ranked third for cash receipts in 2008, also at $396 million. Turkeys came in fourth with $271 million in cash receipt value in the state and nursery came in at #5 with $256 in receipts.
In contrast, receipts from grain corn leapt dramatically in importance in 2007, coming in at #6 in the rankings with $153 million in cash receipts. That is up nearly one-third for the year compared to 2007 when corn, with a value $102 million, ranked eighth in cash receipts.
Winter wheat receipts were also impressive in 2008, rating seventh in value for the year with $135 million in receipts. The seventh place result demonstrated a five-step jump in the rankings; in 2007 winter wheat ranked twelfth in receipts and brought in a value of $65 million.
VDACS' marketing director Charles Greene noted wheat's gains came from several factors. There was an increase in harvested acres for wheat and yield increased from 64 bushels per acre in 2007 to 71 bushels per acre in 2008. The average price for wheat also climbed from $5.78 per bu. in 2007 to $6.10 bu in 2008.
Green called the 2008 crop "one of the best quality crops in memory."
Wine grapes made the "Top Twenty" list for the first time in 2008, replacing snap beans at the #20 spot. Wine grapes had a cash receipt value of over $10 million in 2008.
For more information see the final report from VDACS on the Internet at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/releases-b/110209toptwenty.shtml