2012 Ag Census
I would like to thank those farmers and ranchers who responded to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. I realize your time is valuable and appreciate your response. The 2012 Census will provide a complete picture of agriculture that will be used to shape the future of agriculture, rural America, and the lives of those USDA serves for years to come. The results will be released in both electronic and print forms beginning in February 2014.
From May to November, NASS publishes monthly official USDA yield and production forecasts for the major field crops in Pennsylvania and around the country. Forecasts are based on responses to monthly Ag Yield Surveys when farmers estimate expected yields from their own fields.
Forecasted crops include: winter wheat, barley, oats, corn for grain, soybeans, hay, and hay stocks.
We ask growers because they are the best source of information about the crops they grow. They see the crop develop daily and they have the best idea of how recent weather has affected their crop. Using their years of experience, they can make the best estimate of their expected yields based on current crop conditions.
It is too risky to use weather predictions when setting yield forecasts. Forecasts are based on information from farmers who must assume that average conditions will prevail through the end of the season. Potential lower yields from drought, flood or other poor growing conditions are reflected in the following months’ yield surveys.
These production forecasts give an important advance warning of the size of each crop in Pennsylvania and across the nation. For example, if a large crop is expected, contract harvesters, packers, transportation companies and storage facilities must be ready to handle the extra volume. A small crop warns about the possible need to plan for alternate livestock feed sources or drought assistance.
The results of field crop surveys can be found at www.nass.usda.gov. Around the 10th of each month, click on “Crops and Plants” in the gray column on the left. The next crop report is released at 12 p.m. on July 11.
Based on the condition of the wheat crop as of June 1, Pennsylvania’s 2013 production of winter wheat is expected to be 21 percent above 2012. Winter wheat is forecast at 11.375 million bushels in Pennsylvania, up 1.95 million bushels from last year’s production. Farmers expect to harvest 175,000 acres, up 30,000 acres from last year. Growers expected their average yield, based on condition of the crop as of June 1, to be 65.0 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the May 1 yield but unchanged from the final yield of 2012.
U.S. winter wheat production for 2013 is forecast at 1.51 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the May 1 forecast but down 8 percent from 2012. Based on June 1 conditions, the U.S. yield is forecast at 46.1 bushels per acre, up 0.7 bushel from last month but down 1.1 bushels from last year. Expected area for harvest or seed totals 32.7 million acres, down from 34.8 million acres last year.
Pennsylvania’s 2013 maple syrup production came in at 134,000 gallons, up 40 percent from last year’s production of 96,000 gallons. All states showed an increase in production from the previous year. Cool temperatures in the early spring months delayed budding of maple trees that contributed to a longer season of sap flow than last year. On average, the season lasted 37 days compared with 24 days last year.
Sugarmakers set more taps this year. There were 583,000 taps set during 2013, compared to 501,000 taps set last year. Each tap averaged 0.230 gallons of syrup per tap, up from the 0.192 gallons last year but down from the 0.254 gallons in 2011.
Nationally, maple syrup production in 2013 totaled 3.25 million gallons, up 70 percent from 2012. There were 10.6 million taps set this year compared to 9.77 million taps last year, up 8 percent. Each tap averaged 0.308 gallons of syrup, up 58 percent from last year.
In Pennsylvania, the value of the 2012 crop was $3.78 million, down from the $5.12 million in 2011. Nationally, the crop was valued at $74.6 million for 2012, down 30 percent from the previous year. The value of production was down in all States.
Complete statistics for major maple-producing states are found on pages 13, 14 and 15 in the June issue of the “Crop Production” report released June 12, 2013. It can be found at www.nass.usda.gov.