Monthly Grain Price Survey Sets Target Price for Dairies

9/22/2012 7:00 AM

As we begin a new harvest season, about 44 Pennsylvania grain buyers were scientifically selected to take part in our monthly grain price survey over the next 12 months. Buyers in other states are also surveyed at the same time.

The Farm Service Agency’s milk income loss contract program depends on National Agricultural Statistics Service’s average prices for corn, soybeans and alfalfa to set the MILC target price. Milk producers are eligible for financial assistance when the average milk price falls below the target.

The accuracy of NASS grain price estimates is extremely important for grain producers and taxpayers. A 1 cent difference in the NASS market year average price could change payments to growers.

These and other price reports can be found by clicking on “Economics” in the gray bar on the left of

Sept. 1 Crop Forecasts

Based on grower responses to the September Ag Yield Survey, Pennsylvania yields of corn for grain, soybeans, and Burley, Maryland-type and Pennsylvania Seedleaf tobaccos are expected to be above last year.

The monthly crop forecasts were published on Sept. 12. But remember, these forecasts are based on crop conditions on Sept. 1. Weather conditions after then may affect yields of crops not yet harvested.

The next monthly Crop Production report will be released Oct. 11 with updated yield forecasts.

Corn yields, as of Sept.1, are forecast at 125 bushels per acre, 14 bushels above last year and seven bushels above last month’s forecast. At 125 million bushels for 2011, Pennsylvania grain corn production is expected to be 17 percent above last year.

Soybean yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, three bushels above the Aug. 1 forecast and up one bushel from last year’s final average yield. Pennsylvania production is now forecast at 23.4 million bushels, up 8.5 percent from last year.

Burley-type tobacco yield is estimated at 2,400 pounds per acre, 200 pounds per acre more than last year. With acres for harvest estimated at 4,700, the resulting production would be 11.28 million pounds, up 2.5 percent from last year.

Pennsylvania-type tobacco expected production is 4.7 million pounds from 2,000 acres. This production is 29 percent above last year. The 2012 yield forecast is 2,350 pounds per acre, 200 pounds per acre more than a year ago.

Maryland-type tobacco expected production is 6.67 million pounds from 2,900 acres. This production is 11 percent above last year. The 2012 yield forecast is 2,300 pounds per acre, 300 pounds per acre more than a year ago.

Snap bean contracted production (for processing) is expected to be 40,240 tons in Pennsylvania, slightly below last year. The decrease is due to 660 fewer acres harvested at 13,640 acres. The 2012 yield forecast is 2.95 tons per acre, up from last year’s yield of 2.83 tons per acre.

Mushrooms Report

U.S. Agaricus mushroom sales totaled 882 million pounds for 2011-2012, up 4 percent from the 2010-11 season and 13 percent above the 2009-10 season. Pennsylvania accounted for 62 percent with 548 million pounds, slightly below last year’s production. California ranked second with 121.4 million pounds, or 14 percent.

The 2011-12 U.S. Agaricus crop was estimated at $1.04 billion in sales, with Pennsylvania sales at $497.2 million. Nationwide, Brown mushrooms, including Portabello and Crimini varieties, accounted for 146 million pounds, 7 percent above the previous year. The value of sales for Brown mushrooms was $213 million, 10 percent above 2010-11.

In 2011-12, there were 105 Agaricus growers nationwide with 67 of those in Pennsylvania. Sixty of those 67 are in Chester County. The previous year showed 109 growers nationally with 68 of those in Pennsylvania.

The 17-page report was released Aug. 20 and has additional data about specialty mushrooms and certified organic mushrooms. See

Census Countdown Begins

Preparations continue for this year’s Census of Agriculture. Your answers to the census will help grow your farm future; shape farm programs; and boost services for you, your community and your industry.

Census forms will be mailed out in late December, and responses are due by Feb. 4. Producers also have the option to complete their forms online. After all, the census is your voice, your future and your responsibility. For more information about the Census, visit or call 888-424-7828.

Kevin Pautler is director of the Pennsylvania Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS-PA) operated in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. For the reports mentioned below go to and click on the “Publications” tab.

Does milk have a lot of untapped potential in today’s competitive beverage market?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

User Submitted Photos

View photos      Submit your photos

  Ag Markets at Lancaster Farming

2/13/2016 | Last Updated: 8:45 AM