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Press Releases

July 12, 2016
Rainy May Affects Virginia’s Winter Wheat Yield
Winter Wheat is Virginia’s 12th highest-ranking agricultural commodity, with $112 million in cash receipts in 2014, the last year for which we have records
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686


The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today announced that this year’s winter wheat crop experienced one of the wettest months of May on record in some areas in the state. “The crop yield is the lowest since 2010 when yield was estimated at 51 bushels per acre,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia state statistician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The NASS Agricultural Yield survey conducted at the beginning of the month queried about 125 farms in Virginia.

The expected crop for 2016 will be down 26 percent from the previous year. The forecast was based on crop conditions as of July 1 and decreased 11 percent from the June forecast. Growers expect a yield of 59.0 bushels per acre, down 7.0 bushels from 2015 and down 4.0 bushels from June. Farmers seeded 220,000 acres last fall with 175,000 acres to be harvested for grain. Acres for other uses totaled 45,000 acres which will be used as cover crop for tobacco or cut as silage or hay.

A cold, wet spring affected the crop. Yields were reduced due to the spring freeze and quality is variable. Some fields were abandoned due to the freeze. Farmers in some parts of Virginia experienced one of the wettest months of May on record. There were reports of head scab from prolonged rain during head fill. Crop conditions as of July 3 were rated one percent very poor, nine percent poor, 29 percent fair, 55 percent good and six percent excellent. Wheat harvest is in full swing and running behind normal. As of July 3, 63 percent of the crop was harvested, compared to 68 percent last year and 77 percent for the five-year average.

Barley producers in Virginia forecast harvesting 1.15 million bushels for 2016, down four percent from last year. Acres expected to be harvested for grain total 18,000 acres, 2,000 above last year. Producers expect a yield of 64.0 bushels per acre, down 11.0 bushels from 2015.

Flue-cured tobacco production in Virginia is forecast at 50.4 million pounds, two percent higher than the 49.5 million pounds produced in 2015. Acres for harvest are estimated at 21,000, down 500 acres from the 21,500 acres harvested last year. Yield per acre is forecast at 2,400 pounds, up 100 pounds from last year.

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