Help Needed to Compile Custom Rates

1/19/2013 7:00 AM

In Pennsylvania, we publish a very popular annual report with average rates paid to custom machinery service providers.

To see last year’s report, go to and click on “Publications & News Releases.”

The 2013 issue will be published around the latter half of March at the same website.

About 2,700 Pennsylvania farmers and service providers will receive the 2013 survey asking about rates paid for custom work.

Please help us with this survey if one comes to your mailbox. These responses allow us to publish the most accurate information possible.

This annual study is funded by and conducted at the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

County Estimates

Annual county estimates of cash rents and acres, yield and production for major Pennsylvania crops are crucial to the development and administration of farmland preservation, farmland tax abatement, crop insurance and disaster assistance.

Annual county data is also important to understanding changes in the dairy industry because it’s the single largest part of Pennsylvania agriculture.

If called upon, your response will help us to publish accurate information about agriculture in your county.

You would be surprised how many elected officials and local decision-makers rely on these statistics to learn about agriculture in their own county.

Data collection that began in December will continue into February in counties where more reports might be needed to publish quality county numbers.

Census of Agriculture

For many farmers across the nation, this is the time of year to finish paperwork after a busy harvest season and look toward planning for next year.

This makes it a perfect time to also fill out and return your 2012 Census of Agriculture form, which must be completed and returned by Feb. 4.

Farmers who have not returned their forms by the due date will receive additional requests for their response.

Hog Counts

Hogs are counted every three months on the first of March, June, September and December. The report is published at the end of each of the months.

There were 1.13 million hogs in Pennsylvania on Dec. 1, unchanged from a year earlier. Market hogs, at 1.03 million, and breeding herd, at 100,000, were also unchanged from a year ago.

Nationally, there were 66.3 million hogs on hand Dec. 1, down slightly from a year ago. Market hogs were also down slightly from the year before at 60.5 million head. The breeding herd was up slightly at 5.82 million head.

Grain Stocks

This quarterly report shows the amount of grain stored both on and off farms for many grains, including corn, soybeans, oats, barley, wheat, dry beans and more.

For example, there is 17 percent less grain corn stored nationwide. In Pennsylvania there is 4 percent more corn stored as of Dec. 1.

Crop Summary

We now have the final tally of crop production for last year.

Grain corn yields in Pennsylvania averaged 132 bushels in 2012, up 21 bushels from 2011. Total Pennsylvania production was 132 million bushels, up 24 percent from last year.

Nationally, production was at 10.8 billion bushels, 13 percent below 2011. Average yield fell to 123.4 bushels per acre, down 23.8 bushels from 2011. Planted area, at 97 million acres, is up 6 percent from 2011.

Silage corn yield in Pennsylvania averaged 18 tons per acre, up 2.5 tons from the 2011 yield. Acreage cut was up 5 percent from 2011. Production was 7.9 million tons, up 22 percent from 2011.

Nationally, the crop was up 4 percent and represents the highest production in the United States since 1982.

Dry alfalfa hay production in Pennsylvania was 6 percent below 2011 with an average of 2.6 tons per acre. Nationally, the crop was down 20 percent.

Pennsylvania alfalfa haylage and greenchop production was up 8 percent from 2011 with 5.8 green tons per acre. There were 90,000 newly seeded acres planted in 2012 for production in 2013, up 20,000 acres from a year ago.

Dry other hay production in Pennsylvania was down 19 percent from 2011 averaging a 1.9 ton yield.

Nationally, the crop was up 3 percent from 2011. This is the second lowest U.S. production since 1998.

The summary of all hay forage production (both dry and green) shows 4.09 million tons of hay harvested in Pennsylvania on a dry equivalent basis, 9 percent below last year.

Forage was harvested from 1.69 million acres, unchanged from 2011. Yield in 2011 was 2.42 tons compared with 2.65 dry equivalent tons the previous year.

Oat production in Pennsylvania was 3.97 million bushels, 44 percent above 2011; average yield was 61 bushels, up 15 bushels from the previous year. Nationally, the crop was at 64 million bushels, 19 percent above last year.

Winter wheat production in Pennsylvania was 9.4 million bushels, 9 percent above 2011’s crop; yields averaged 65 bushels compared with 51 in 2011.

In the fall of 2012, 165,000 acres were seeded compared with 185,000 the previous year. Nationally, 2012 production was 10 percent above the previous year.

Barley production in Pennsylvania was 3.6 million bushels, up slightly from 2011; average yield was 68 bushels in 2012, three bushels above the previous year. Nationally, the crop was up 41 percent.

Soybean production in Pennsylvania was 25 million bushels, 16 percent more than 2011; average yield was 48 bushels in 2012 compared with 44 in 2011.

U.S. soybean production in 2012 totaled 3.01 billion bushels, down 3 percent from 2011. Despite the decrease, this was still the seventh largest soybean crop on record.

Average yield per acre was 39.6 bushels, 2.3 bushels below last year’s yield. Harvested area is up 3 percent from 2011 to 76.1 million acres and is the third highest on record.

Fall potato production in Pennsylvania was 2.24 million hundredweight, up 10 percent from 2011. Average yield was 260 hundredweight in 2012, unchanged from 2011. Acreage harvested in 2012 was 8,600 acres, 800 acres more than the previous year. Nationally, the crop was up 9 percent for all potatoes.

Pennsylvania-type tobacco production in the state was 4.8 million pounds, 31 percent more than 2011. Harvested acreage was 2,000, about 300 acres more than last year. The average yield of 2,400 pounds per acre was 12 percent above 2011.

MD-type tobacco production in Pennsylvania was 6.7 million pounds, 11 percent above 2011; harvested acres declined by 100 acres to 2,900. Average yield per acre of 2,300 pounds was 300 pounds more than last year.

Burley tobacco production in Pennsylvania was 11.5 million pounds, up 5 percent from the previous year; harvested acres, at 4,700 acres, fell by 300 acres. Average yield per acre of 2,450 pounds was up 250 pounds from last year.

Nationally, the crop was up 27 percent for all types of tobacco.

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 here, go to and click on the “Publications” tab.

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