NASS conducts more than 400 surveys every year as part of a mission to provide useful, accurate data in a timely manner to the agricultural community. They always encourage all producers to sign up to receive reports that come out of those surveys. Getting the report not only closes the loop for producers who’ve responded to surveys and want to see the data, but also provides valuable information to all producers who are represented by the sample. Those interested can visit the state web pages and click the link to receive NASS reports as they come out. As always individual responses to surveys are kept confidential, and the data is provided in aggregate form so that no individual operation or farmer is identified.
The largest survey, the Census of Agriculture, is still ongoing. The CoA, conducted every five years, is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. It’s a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them. From small plots of urban and rural land to large farms with thousands of acres, the Census counts them all plus looks at land use, ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. If you haven’t responded yet, there’s still time. In order to have the most complete, accurate data, we need every farmer to respond. Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture will be available in February 2019.
Below are data from the first of several NASS North Carolina reports released and to be released in 2018.
North Carolina winter wheat county estimates
North Carolina farmers harvested 375,000 acres of winter wheat in 2017, up 20,000 bushels from the previous year. Yield averaged 55 bushels per acre, up 14 bushels from 2016. Production totaled 20.6 million bushels, a 42 percent increase from the previous year.
The top five counties in production are:
Union County — 2,660,000 bushels
Perquimans County — 1,014,000 bushels
Robeson County — 941,000 bushels
Wayne County — 795,000 bushels
Sampson County — 638,000 bushels.
North Carolina soybean county estimates
North Carolina farmers harvested 1,690,000 acres of soybeans in 2017, up 30,000 acres from the previous year. Yield averaged 40 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from 2016. Production totaled 67.6 million bushels, a 14% increase from the previous year.
The top five counties in production are:
Beaufort County — 3,268,000 bushels
Robeson County — 3,102,000 bushels
Union County — 2,797,000 bushels
Sampson County — 2,671,000 bushels
Pasquotank County — 2,534,000 bushels
North Carolina 2017 crop production summary
Corn for Grain acres harvested on North Carolina farms in 2017 totaled 840,000 acres, down 100,000 acres from 2016. Yield averaged 142 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from the 2016 and tied with the 2013 record. Production at 119.3 million bushels was 2 percent lower than the 2016 total of 121.3 million. North Carolina ranks 18th in the nation in the production of corn for grain.
Upland Cotton acres harvested in North Carolina during the 2017 growing season totaled 367,000 acres. This was an increase of 112,000 acres from the 255,000 harvested in 2016. Yield averaged 961 pounds per acre, up 315 pounds from the previous year. Production at 735,000 bales was up 114 percent from the 343,000 bales produced in 2016. North Carolina ranks 7th in the nation in Upland cotton production.
Soybean acres harvested by North Carolina farmers in 2017 totaled 1.69 million. This was up 30,000 acres from the 1.66 million acres harvested in 2016. Yield per acre averaged 40 bushels, which was 5 bushels above the 2016 estimate of 35 and a tie with the State record set in 2014. Production totaled 67.6 million bushels, up 16 percent from last year’s production of 58.1 bushels. North Carolina ranks 17th in the nation in soybean production.
Tobacco farmers in North Carolina harvested 163,900 acres of tobacco in 2017, down 2,100 acres from the previous year. Burley tobacco yield averaged 1,600 pounds per acre while Flue-Cured tobacco yield averaged 2,200 pounds per acre. Production was up 9% for flue-cured tobacco at 358.6 million pounds and down 20 percent for burley tobacco at 1.4 million pounds. North Carolina still ranks 1st in the nation in tobacco production.
Sweet Potato farmers in North Carolina harvested 89,500 acres of sweet potatoes in 2017, down 5,500 acres from 2016. Yield averaged 220 cwt. per acre, up 40 cwt. from 2016 and tied with the 2014 record. Production at 19.7 million cwt. was up 15 percent from last year’s production of 17.1 million cwt. North Carolina ranks 1st in the nation in sweet potato production.
North Carolina 2017 livestock inventory
All hogs and pigs on North Carolina farms on December 1, 2017 totaled 9.0 million head, down 2 percent from Sept. 1. Market hogs, at 8.1 million head, were down 4 percent from last year and down 2 percent from last quarter. Breeding stock totaled 900,000 head, up 2 percent from last year but unchanged from Sept. 1, 2017. North Carolina producers intend to farrow 465,000 sows during the December 2017 – February 2018 quarter North Carolina ranks 2nd nationally, behind Iowa, in the total number of hogs and pigs produced.
Cattle inventory in North Carolina as of Jan. 1, 2018 totaled 810,000 head, down 20,000 from 2017. All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 415,000 head, with beef cows at 370,000 and milk cows at 45,000. There was no change from the previous year’s estimate. The 2017 North Carolina calf crop was estimated at 365,000 head, down 5,000 head from 2016.
Dee Webb is state statistician for the NASS NC Field Office.