As we move closer to another crop year, it is always interesting to review how things turned out during the previous cropping season. USDA's 2011 Farm Income Forecast, has forecast overall net farm income at $97.3 billion for 2014, down $31.7 billion or 25% from 2013.
Locally we benefitted from near normal rainfall last year, though we had marginal deep soil moisture at planting due to the prior years of drought and extended dry periods during the growing season. The result was crops producing yields that were respectable in 2014, in most cases, the resulting total Ag income in Nueces County was $95 million increase from last year only 19% below 2011. Local ag income was up due to crop yields being nearer expected norms and strong price bases at the port. However, total production expenses are forecast to be 5.1% higher in 2014, which would be the fifth consecutive increase since last falling in 2009.
One of the things that I do annually this time of year is project crop yields and income for the county, so here goes my best estimations, with the help of farmers and USDA professionals.
Traditionally Nueces County is the top grain sorghum producing county in Texas. This year we harvested about 147,258 acres with an average yield of 3,976 pounds of grain per acre that generated a crop value of approximately $44 million.
In looking at other grains produced in Nueces County, one finds that we harvested about 16,000 acres of corn with an average yield of 98 bushels per acre with a crop value of $6 million. We had just over 1,802 acres of sesame harvested with an average yield of 500 pounds per acre valued at $43,510. We had a small amount of sunflower per acre valued at $460,000. Wheat harvested acres totaled 7,456 with yields averaging 35 bushels per acre with an estimated value of $2,479,120.
The cotton crop for the most part performed well with the limited rainfall during the growing season. There were about 110,904 acres of cotton harvested that produced an average yield of 750 pounds of lint per acre and with the cottonseed was valued at $66.3 million.
Overall, when accounting for all Ag income, including Farm Program payments, crop insurance, livestock sales, and value of hay produced, the Ag Income projections for Nueces County in 2014 are about $150 million. This is a $3 million increase over 2013.
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