Today’s Topic: 2012 was a good year for field crops in North Carolina

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its official 2012 crop production summary for a variety of field crops, and the data confirm that it was a very good year in North Carolina farmers.

Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda that farmers needed a good year to rebound from the tornadoes, drought and Hurricane Irene that had hurt many growers in 2011.

In 2012, new records were set for several crops:

  • The peanut yield was a record 4,100 pounds per acre. Total production was nearly 435 million pounds, a 49 percent increase over 2011.
  • Soybeans had a record yield of 39 bushels per acre. The previous record was 34 bushels per acre, set in 2009. Total production in 2012 was almost 62 million bushels, also a record.
  • The cotton yield was a record 993 pounds per acre, a 61 percent increase from 2011. Total production was 1.2 million bales, a 17 percent increase.
  • Sweet potatoes matched the record yield of 200 hundredweight per acre, which was set in 2011. But total production was down 3 percent to 12.8 million hundredweight. That’s because farmers planted 2,000 fewer acres than in 2011.

Two other crops – corn and tobacco – didn’t set records, but still rebounded from an awful 2011. The corn yield was 117 bushels per acre. Total production was 96 million bushels, a 40 percent increase from 2011. The flue-cured tobacco yield was 2,300 pounds per acre. Total production was 377 million pounds, a 52 percent increase.

While field crops enjoyed a really good year, the state’s apple crop didn’t. Apple production suffered because of a late freeze in the mountains, which wiped out some farmers’ entire crop. USDA’s official numbers will be released Jan. 25, but Commissioner Troxler says yields likely will be considerably lower than 2011’s production, which was 140 million pounds.

Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda talk about the 2012 crop summary and the rarity of having good prices and good yields in the same year. You can view a pdf of the USDA summary here.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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