As we close down another year, it is interesting to review how things turned out.

USDA's 2011 Farm Income Forecast, has predicted overall net farm income at $100.9 billion for 2011, up $21.8 billion or 28 percent from 2010. 

Despite the current drought, locally we benefitted from above normal rainfall last year and our soils’ ability to store valuable moisture. The result was crops produced yields that were respectable in 2011, in most cases. The resulting total Ag income in Nueces County was up 11 percent from last year. Ag income was up due to high commodity prices, greater demand and tight stocks, but it has also been a costly production year.  Farm expenses have increased anywhere from 12percent to 28 percent over last year, depending on which report you read.

One thing 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 141,867 acres with an average yield of 3,800 pounds of grain per acre that generated a crop value of approximately $54 million.

For other grains produced in Nueces County: we harvested about 12,000 acres of corn with an average yield of 58 bushels per acre with a crop value of $4 million.  We had just over 480 acres of sesame harvested with an average yield of 375 pounds per acre valued at $73,900.  Sesame and corn yields were hurt from lack of rainfall during the growing season.  We had 2,201 acres of sunflowers harvested producing an average yield of 950 pounds per acre valued at $460,000.  Wheat harvested acres totaled 3,295 with yields averaging 30 bushels per acre with an estimated value of $494,200.

The cotton crop for the most part performed well with the limited rainfall during the growing season. There were about 111,527 acres of cotton harvested that produced an average yield of 669 pounds of lint per acre and with the cottonseed was valued at $92.2 million.

Overall, when accounting for all Ag income, including Farm Program payments, livestock sales, and value of hay produced, the Ag Income projections for Nueces County in 2011 are about $185 million.  The drought hurt our income as we lost an estimated $19.4 million this year, just assuming average crop yields.  We were very fortunate though, as other parts of Texas, had much greater drought losses.  As the drought continues, these losses will continue to rise.

Until next time, best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season.