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Press Releases

December 16, 2016
NASS Publishes Small Grains County Estimates
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the first of its county estimates today from the 2016 production year. For Virginia, the small grains county estimates includes winter wheat and barley.

Accomack County is the leading wheat producing county in Virginia for 2016, with production totaling 772,000 bushels, harvested from 14,100 acres. The top five counties include:
Accomack County – 772,000 bushels
Northampton County – 605,000 bushels
Essex County – 549,000 bushels
Northumberland County – 546,000 bushels
Westmoreland County – 506,000 bushels

Loudoun County had the highest yield at 72.2 bushels per acre. The top five counties for yield include:
Loudoun County – 72.2 bushels per acre
Fauquier County – 67.1 bushels per acre
Middlesex County – 65.2 bushels per acre
Northumberland County – 63.5 bushels per acre
Madison County – 63.3 bushels per acre.

“The 2016 wheat crop is one farmers are glad to have behind them and one that they hope won’t repeat itself soon,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia state statistician. “A cold, wet spring limited yield potential and increased disease rates. Average yield statewide was the lowest since 2010.”

Virginia farmers harvested 9.28 million bushels of winter wheat in 2016, down 33 percent from the previous year. Yield averaged 53 bushels per acre, down 13 bushels from 2015. Farmers seeded 210,000 acres last fall, down 50,000 acres from 2015. Area harvested for grain totaled 175,000 acres. Acres for other uses totaled 35,000.

NASS is publishing barley county estimates for five Virginia counties. Northampton County is the leading barley producing county for 2016, with production totaling 79,300 bushels, harvested from 1,110 acres.
Northampton County – 79,300 bushels
Westmoreland County – 73,300 bushels
Shenandoah County – 23,300 bushels
Hanover County – 21,600 bushels
Rockingham County – 9,000 bushels

Northampton County led with the highest barley yield, as well, at 71.4 bushels per acre.
Northampton County – 71.4 bushels per acre
Westmoreland County – 68.5 bushels per acre
Rockingham County – 64.3 bushels per acre
Shenandoah County – 61.3 bushels per acre
Hanover County – 60 bushels per acre

“Growers would have liked a mulligan for the barley crop,” Ellison said. “Mother nature made life difficult from planting through harvest. Yields were reduced due to the spring freeze and quality was variable.”

Barley production for Virginia is 804,000 bushels, down 33 percent from the 2015 total. Average yield per acre, at 67 bushels, is down eight bushels from the previous year. Producers seeded 33,000 acres in 2016, down 13,000 acres from last year. Harvested acres, at 12,000 acres, is down 4,000 acres from 2015.

“The county yield estimates we publish are used by other USDA agencies, such as Farm Service and Risk Management Agencies,” Ellison said. “FSA’s Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), County Loan Rates, Loan Repayment Rates, and its disaster assistance program calculations all integrate the data from this survey. RMA uses the information for its Area Risk Protection Insurance Plan, establishment of transitional yields, and determining when to make crop loss insurance payments.”

Over the next several months, NASS will release county estimates for corn, soybeans, hay, tobacco, cotton and peanuts.
Corn and Soybeans – Feb. 23, 2017
Hay – April 13, 2017
Tobacco – April 27, 2017 
Cotton – May 10, 2017
Peanuts – May 11, 2017

Click here for the complete listing of winter wheat and barley county estimates for each county. For more information, call the NASS Virginia Field Office at 804.771.8560.

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