A historic drought has taken hold in the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. and as a result, corn yields have taken a major hit. In comparison Virginia is currently only affected by the two least severe ratings of drought -- D0, or abnormally dry, and D1 Drought or moderate, as rated by the U.S Drought Monitor. Nevertheless corn yields are suffering here, too.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Aug. 10 that the Commonwealth's corn yields in 2012 are expected to come in at 91 bushels per acre. That is down 27 bushels per acre from 2011. Production is estimated at 31.9 million bushels, down 21% from 2011.
Harvested acres in Virginia are forecast to be 350,000 acres.
Nationwide, corn production is expected to come in at 10.8 billion bushels, down 13% from 2011. That is the lowest production since 2006. Based on conditions as of August 1, VDACS notes yields are expected to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 23.8 bu. per acre from last year. This would be the lowest average yield since 1995.
When yield and production is down, the conditions for high prices are typically optimistic and, indeed, corn prices have been rising. However, even though drought in Virginia is far from as severe as in some of those hard hit Midwest states, the lowered yield and production in the Commonwealth would suggest growers will be unlikely to get any consolation or gain any advantage overall from higher prices.
Cotton yields are anticipated to rise in Virginia, however, to 914 pounds per acre. That is up by 238 pounds per acres from last year's yield of 676 pounds per acre. That yield would indicate cotton production would come in at 160,000 bales, down 1% from 2011.
The report puts peanut harvest at 20,000 acres, a 4,000-acre increase from 2011. Yield is forecast at 3,300 pound per acre, down 500 pounds from last year. Peanut production is forecast to come in at 66 million pounds, up 9% from 2011.
Soybean growers are expected to harvest 540,000 acres with an average yield of 34 bu. per acre. That is down 5 bu. per acre from 2011. Anticipated production is a total 18.4 million bushels, down 14% from last year.