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Good Minn. harvest in 2012 confirmed by estimates

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/all/themes/wctrib_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Good Minn. harvest in 2012 confirmed by estimates
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR — The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the county yield and production estimates for 2012. The estimates confirm that despite some very dry conditions during the latter half of the growing season, local corn and soybean crops were better than Minnesota’s overall average yields, and far better than the drought-ravaged areas in the Eastern Corn Belt.

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By Wes Nelson

Farm Service Agency executive director

WILLMAR — The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the county yield and production estimates for 2012. The estimates confirm that despite some very dry conditions during the latter half of the growing season, local corn and soybean crops were better than Minnesota’s overall average yields, and far better than the drought-ravaged areas in the Eastern Corn Belt.

In retrospect, two factors likely played a significant role in the surprisingly bountiful local harvest in 2012 — an early and rapid start to the growing season, followed by heavy rains in May and early June that recharged our subsoil moisture levels and enabled our crops to withstand the very dry months of July and August.

An extremely mild winter in 2012 was followed by an early spring, which allowed farmers to begin planting corn much earlier than normal and under nearly ideal field conditions.

According to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistical Service, 48 percent of Minnesota’s corn crop was already planted by April 29. By May 13, the percent planted had increased to 88 percent, while 45 percent of the corn crop had already emerged. This early start to the growing season was very beneficial, as it allowed the corn crop to enter the critical pollination and filling stages before the effects of dry weather could cause any serious and lasting damage.

The months of May and June were very wet, with several outbreaks of severe thunderstorms that produced some locally heavy rain amounts. At the time, the storms and the excessive rainfall amounts that accompanied them were not very  welcome. But as the summer progressed, those heavy rains turned out to be a blessing, as the rains recharged our subsoil moisture levels and allowed our crops to flourish, even during the extended dry period that would follow.

When reviewing the local production data, the one overriding conclusion is that corn is truly the king of all crops, with most local counties setting new record highs for corn production in 2012. All local counties also had significant increases in harvested corn acres, while soybean acres reflected equally significant decreases.

The increase in corn acres can be attributed to a combination of factors. Those factors included an early spring planting season, a strong local demand for corn, and a better projected return per acre for corn versus soybeans, despite the significantly higher cost associated with raising corn.

According to USDA’s final crop production estimates for 2012, Minnesota’s average corn yield was 165 bushels per acre, up nine bushels from 2011, but well below the previous record high average of 177 bushels per acre set in 2010. However, Minnesota was still able to produce a record corn crop because the number of harvested acres in 2012 also set a record high of 8.3 million acres, up 630,000 acres or eight percent from 2011.

When comparing the average corn yields of the other major corn producing states, it’s evident how much better Minnesota’s corn crop was.

According to USDA, corn yields in Iowa averaged 137 bushels per acre in 2012, down significantly from the 2011 average of 172. In Illinois, the average yield was 105, down from 157. Indiana’s average yield was 99, down from 146 in 2011. Nebraska’s average yield of 142 was also down from the previous year’s average of 160.

In the case of soybeans, Minnesota’s 2012 production and yield estimates were also up from the previous year.

According to USDA, soybean production in Minnesota totaled 300.5 million bushels, up nine percent from the 274.5 million bushels produced in 2011. Minnesota’s average soybean yield was estimated at 43 bushels per acre, up four bushels from the 2011 average.

Minnesota sugar beet producers also harvested a record breaking crop in 2012. According to USDA, sugar beet production in Minnesota totaled nearly 12.3 million tons, up 38 percent from 2011’s rather disappointing harvest of 8.9 million tons.

Sugar beet yields in Minnesota averaged 26.5 tons per acre in 2012, up 7.5 tons from the previous year’s average, and slightly less than the record high average yield of 26.6 tons per acre in 2010.

Wis. modifies swine import requirements

As of March 1, all swine entering Wisconsin will need to be accompanied by a veterinary-approved import permit that discloses the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome status of the herd of origin, often referred to as PRRS.

The virus causes reproductive failure in breeding stock and respiratory illness in young pigs, and is estimated to have cost the U.S. swine industry over $600 million annually.

For more information about importing swine into Wisconsin, visit http://tinyurl.com/swine-import-WI.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandi-yohi County.

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