Spring planting is off to a slower start than it was is 2016, as a few producers planted a little corn last week, but most are waiting for a rainfall before they begin planting in earnest. However, it is always interesting to review how things turned out during the previous cropping season as we do get into planting for 2017.
The 2016 growing season started with very good planting conditions that allowed for good stand establishment. Ample rainfall continued through the early part of the season and left growers with a full moisture profile in June. In some areas standing water lowered yields expectations. However, it was an exceptional year for corn production across the county. Grain sorghum and cotton yields were also strong with all county yield estimates exceeding historic averages.
One of the things that I do annually is project crop yields and income for the county for the previous growing season, so here goes my best estimations, with the help of farmers and USDA professionals. The resulting total agricultural income from agricultural commodity sales in Nueces County was $140.3 million.
Traditionally Nueces County is the top grain sorghum producing county in Texas. This year we harvested about 159,800 acres with an average yield of 4,800 pounds of grain per acre that generated a crop value of approximately $46 million.
In looking at other grains produced in Nueces County, one finds that we harvested over 36,000 acres of corn with an exceptional average yield of 118 bushels per acre with a crop value of $14 million. Harvested wheat acres totaled around 8,000 with yields averaging 35 bushels per acre with an estimated value of $1.2 million. We had just over 900 acres of sesame harvested valued at $106 thousand.
The cotton crop performed well during the growing season; with around 98,000 acres of cotton harvested that produced an average yield of 880 pounds of lint per acre. The total value of the cotton crop including lint and cottonseed was valued at $70.9 million.
Overall, when accounting for all agricultural commodity income, farm program payments, and crop insurance, the total Ag Income projections for Nueces County in 2016 is about $150 million. This is a $37.1 million increase from 2015.