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Farm yields down, state agency says

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Wednesday that Virginia’s farmers expect low yields in 2010. Based on conditions as of Oct. 1, Virginia’s corn yields are forecast to average 56 bushels per acre, down 75 bushels per acre from last year. If realized, production would be 17.9 million bushels, down 59 percent from 2009. Producers expect to harvest 320,000 acres for grain this year.

Virginia’s soybean yields are expected to be 24 bushels per acre, which is 13 bushels per acre less than last year. Production is estimated at 13.2 million bushels, down 37 percent from 2009. Harvested acres are at 550,000, down 20,000 acres from last year.

Alfalfa hay production is expected to be down 17 percent from last year to 225,000 tons. Alfalfa yield is expected to average 2.5 tons per acre, 0.50 of a ton per acre less than in 2009. The forecasted yield for other hay is 1.80 tons per acre. Other hay production is forecast at 2.16 million tons, down ten percent from 2009.

Cotton producers currently expect to harvest 82,000 acres with an average yield of 673 pounds per acre. Production is expected to total 115,000 bales, down 17 percent from last year.

Burley tobacco producers expect an average yield of 1,800 pounds per acre from 1,600 acres. Production is forecast at 2.88 million pounds, down 1.4 million pounds from last year. Flue-cured tobacco yield is forecast at 2,350 pounds per acre, up ten pounds from 2009. Production is estimated to be 41.1 million pounds, up slightly from last year. Fire-cured tobacco yield is forecast at 1,950 pounds per acre, down 50 pounds from the 2009 estimate. If realized, production would total 1.37 million pounds, up five percent from last year.

The forecasted peanut yield of 2,000 pounds per acre is down 1,700 pounds per acre from 2009. Production is forecast at 36 million pounds, down 19 percent from last year. As of October 4, harvesting activities had begun with six percent of the crop combined.

Apple production in Virginia is forecast at 225 million pounds, down 20 million pounds from last year. As of October 4, fall and winter apple harvest in Virginia was 60 percent completed.

Nationally, corn production is down four percent from the September forecast, soybean production is down two percent and cotton production is up slightly.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at