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High expectations

Tennessee’s harvest projections estimate most crops will see increase in yield and production, with corn likely reaching record-setting numbers
By Sarah Geyer 10/1/2018


Ag industry experts estimate that Tennessee farmers will see both yield and production increases for the state’s corn, soybean, and cotton crops.
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As of press time (Sept. 26), harvest projections for Tennessee estimate most of the state’s crops will net an increase in both yield and production.

For the second consecutive year, corn is expected to reach record-setting harvest numbers. According to the Sept. 12 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Tennessee corn yields are expected to average 174 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from last year and a state record. Production is also expected to surpass last year by at least 5 percent with an estimated 127 million bushels.

Corn yields nationwide are estimated at 181 bushels per acre, which, if realized, will be a record-setting harvest.

“Growers in Tennessee and across the country have seen corn yields climb over the last few years,” says  Alan Sparkman, manager of agronomy marketing for Tennessee Farmers Cooperative. “Not only has the state been blessed with good growing conditions, but it’s also a testament to the improvements in seed genetics and growers implementing best management practices from crop nutrient programs to timely pest control.”

The NASS report also estimates increases over last year in both production and yield for soybeans and cotton.

The state’s soybean production is forecast at 87.7 million bushels, up from last year by 6 percent with yields expected to average 51 bushels per acre, a 1-bushel increase from 2017. 

Cotton production is estimated to increase 9 percent over last year with 800,000 bales, and yields are projected to reach 1,082 pounds per acre, up 49 pounds per acre from last year.

The state’s production of burley tobacco is estimated to decrease as compared with 2017, while production acres of dark fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco are estimated to increase.

Burley tobacco production is forecasted at 10.2 million pounds, down 43 percent from last year. Yield is projected at 1,700 pounds per acre, an increase of 200 pounds from 2017.

Both dark fire-cured and air-cured tobacco should see increased production compared to 2017, with an estimated 22 million pounds of fire-cured, up 5 percent, and 6.72 million pounds of air-cured, up 68 percent.

Look for expanded harvest coverage in The Cooperator’s December issue.

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