Virginia wheat forecast down 16 percent from last year

virginiaThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced today that Virginia farmers expect to harvest 11.7 million bushels of winter wheat during 2016 according to the Virginia Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The expected crop for 2016 would be down 16 percent from the previous year.

Farmers seeded 240,000 acres last fall with 185,000 acres to be harvested for grain. Based on crop conditions as of May 1 and assuming a normal growing season, farmers expect a yield of 63.0 bushels per acre, down 3.0 bushels from 2015. Acres for other uses totaled 55,000 and will be used as cover crop or cut as silage or hay.

Winter wheat overall is in good condition with farmers currently scouting for pests and applying fungicides. Seventy-seven percent of the crop is headed compared to 35 percent at this time last year and 62 percent for the five year average.

Winter wheat production for the nation was forecast at 1.43 billion bushels, up 4 percent from 2015. The expected area to be harvested for grain or seed totals 29.8 million acres, down 8 percent from last year. As of May 1, the U.S. yield was forecast at 47.8 bushels per acre, up 5.3 bushels from last year.

As of May 1, Virginia on-farm hay stocks totaled 420,000 tons, up 50,000 tons from May 1, 2015 stocks. Farmers have used 79 percent of their hay stocks since December 1, 2015.

Producers were beginning to cut and bale this year’s hay but have been delayed because of rain. Both alfalfa and all other hay were in good-fair condition on May 1.

Hay stocks were at 25.1 million tons, up 623,000 tons from 2015.

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