Four Crops See Record Yields

By Bonnie Coblentz/MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Three Mississippi row crops are expected to post record yields for the 2013 growing season, and a fourth major crop may also break its previous record.

Corn is expected to average 180 bushels per acre; cotton, 1,090 pounds per acre; and rice, 7,500 pounds per acre. Hay has yielded an average of 3 tons per acre in 2013. Previous records for these crops were 165 bushels of corn per acre set in 2012; 1,024 pounds of cotton, 2004; 7,350 pounds of rice, 2007; and 2.9 tons of hay, 2005.

Soybeans are expected to post average yields of 43 bushels per acre, second highest to the record of 45 bushels set in 2012.

From 2011 to 2013, Mississippi farmers have set new yield records on essentially every crop produced in the state, said Greg Bohach, vice president of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

“Mississippi crop farmers were blessed with another good season in 2013. The efforts by our research and Extension faculty and staff have been outstanding and have contributed to the excellent yields our farmers produced this year,” Bohach said. “We applaud our farmers for the job they did in 2013, and at the same time, we applaud our faculty, staff and students for their dedication and efforts.”

John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said Mississippi farmers know how to manage their fields, but good summer weather also played a significant role in these record yields.

“Despite starting off late because of less desirable, rainy spring weather, the temperatures were much milder this summer than what we typically see in Mississippi, and that helped,” Riley said. “Rains came when we needed them, and although the Delta started to get dry in the middle of summer, it turned out not to be as big an issue as we thought.”

Riley said Mississippi producers have gotten much better at growing corn, and with high demand and prices, they are making success with corn a much higher priority.

“We used to not put as much effort into growing corn, but now we have become much better at intensively managing corn for the highest yield,” Riley said.

All growers benefit from new varieties and better use of technology, he said. Combined with ideal weather during the 2013 growing season, these benefits helped push cotton and hay yields to new heights. Riley said rice’s anticipated record yield is partly because of the limited number of acres in production.

“We have reduced our rice acres down so far that more than likely, the rice being grown now is being grown on the most productive land,” he said. “When you take out the less productive land, you bump up your yield average some.”

Record yields are not expected to have a significant impact on planting intentions for 2014. Producers typically base planting decisions on crop prices, which largely are determined by supply and demand.

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