Record High Potential Exists for 2017 Kentucky Soybean Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the August Crop Production report today, showing the soybean production is forecast to be 10 percent higher than 2016. This month’s report is the first of the season to forecast row crop production.

“Prospects for corn, soybeans and tobacco look promising at this point in the growing season,” said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. “Favorable weather conditions have provided adequate soil moisture, heat and limited disease pressure. With the start of harvest still a couple weeks away, it’s too early to get really excited about the yields, but crop condition ratings have been as good or better than last year throughout the growing season.”

Soybean production for Kentucky is forecast at 98.3 million bushels, an increase of 10 percent from 2016.

“Conditions remain favorable for soybean production,” Knopf said. “If the yield forecast holds, it will be a record high yield and production.”

Soybean yield is estimated at 52 bushels per acre, up two bushels from a year ago. Acreage for harvest as beans was estimated at 1.89 million acres, up 110,000 acres from the previous year. U.S. soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, up two percent from last year. Based on Aug. 1, conditions, yields are expected to average 49.4 bushels per acre, down 2.7 bushels from last year. Area for harvest is forecast at 88.7 million acres, unchanged from June but up seven percent from 2016.


“Tobacco yield prospects in 2017 have rebounded from the 2015 and 2016 crops,” Knopf said. “The two previous years’ crops suffered from too much rain.”

Kentucky burley tobacco production is forecast at 120 million pounds, up 12 percent from 2016. Yield is projected at 2,000 pounds per acre, up 250 pounds from the 2016 crop. Harvested acreage was estimated at 60,000 acres, down 1,000 acres from last year’s crop. For the burley producing states production is forecast at 160 million pounds, up 14 percent from last year. Burley growers plan to harvest 80,500 acres, up one percent from 2016. Yields were expected to average 1,984 pounds per acre, up 237 pounds from last year.

Production of Kentucky dark fire-cured tobacco is forecast at 32 million pounds, up 46 percent from the previous year. Dark air-cured tobacco production is forecast at 13.5 million pounds, up 76 percent from last year.

Other Crop Production Forecasts

Corn production in Kentucky is forecast at 215 million bushels, down three percent from the previous crop. Yield is estimated at 171 bushels per acre, up 12 bushels from the 2016 level. Acres for harvest as grain were estimated at 1.26 million acres, down 140,000 acres from 2016.

The U.S. corn production is forecast at 14.2 billion bushels, down seven percent from 2016. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, yields are expected to average 169.5 bushels per acre, down 5.1 bushels from 2016. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.5 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but down four percent from 2016.

Kentucky farmers expect to harvest 25.5 million bushels of winter wheat during 2017. The expected crop for 2017 would be down 20 percent from the previous year. Growers expect a yield of 75 bushels per acre, down five bushels from 2016 and down two bushels from July. Farmers expect to harvest 340,000 acres for grain.

Winter wheat production for the Nation was forecast at 1.29 billion bushels, down 23 percent from 2016. The United States yield is forecast at 50 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushels from last month and down 5.3 bushels from last year. The expected area to be harvested for grain or seed totals 25.8 million acres, down 15 percent from last year.

Production of hay by Kentucky farmers is forecast to be down from last year due to lower yields. Alfalfa hay production is forecast at 450,000 tons, 17 percent below the 2016 level. Other hay production is estimated at 5.04 million tons, unchanged from last year.

NASS gathered data for the August Agricultural Yield Survey earlier this month. The monthly yield surveys begin in May with the focus on small grains through July and shifts to row crops beginning in August. All reports are available on the NASS website.

For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Kentucky Field Office at (800) 928-5277, or visit

Source: University of Kentucky

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