As we close down another year it is always interesting to review how things turned out.  As you recall, last year at this time we were beginning to come out of one the worst droughts in recent history.  With above normal rainfall during the 2010 growing season, we were able to produce some excellent crops, unless you were one of those who got the rain at the same time that your crop was ready to harvest.   Had we not had rain during prime grain harvest time, we could have seen a record crop.

One of the things 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 183,430 acres with an average yield of 4,730 pounds of grain per acre that generated a crop value of approximately $48.1 million.  That is more than a $41 million increase from last year. It’s amazing what a little rain can do for you!

In looking at other grains produced in Nueces County, we harvested 9,866 acres of corn with an average yield of 97 bushels per acre and a crop value of $3.8 million.  We had just more than 1,500 acres of sesame harvested with an average yield of 650 pounds per acre valued at $269,000.  Sesame yields were hurt from rainfall just as the crop was ready to harvest.

We had 1,162 acres of sunflowers harvested producing an average yield of 1,200 pounds per acre valued at $223,000.  Wheat harvested acres totaled 6,749 with yields averaging 45 bushels per acre with an estimated value of $1.3 million.

Cotton crop up

The cotton crop was an above normal crop for the most part, hampered only by a dry May and then rain late in the season, especially at harvest.  Farmers harvested about 104,049 acres of cotton for an average yield of 866 pounds of lint per acre valued at $78 million.

Overall, when accounting for all ag income, including Farm Program payments and value of hay produced, projections for Nueces County in 2010 come to $170.3 million.  That is a significant increase from the last banner year we had back in 2003. 

On a national scale, ag income is up as well.

According to USDA Economic Research Service, the U.S.  net farm income is forecast at $81.6 billion in 2010, up $19.4 billion (31 percent) from 2009. The 2010 forecast is $16.7 billion above the average of $64.8 billion in net farm income earned annually in the previous 10 years and is the third largest amount of income earned in U.S. farming in nominal terms. 

It looks like the Agricultural Industry is leading the way in the slowly recovering economy.  Now all we need locally is Santa Claus to bring some good rains, as we are unusually dry for this time of year, with no relief in sight.

A note from the Live Oak County Extension Agent reports an 8 hour CEU program on Thursday, January 6, 2011, at the Ray Point Community Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. All wanting to participate are asked to RSVP to 361-449-1703 by January 4, 2011.  Topics will include: Transporting Ag Equipment on Texas Highways, Insect Management, Sprayer Calibration, Fever Tick Update, Feral Hog Management, Pesticide Laws and Brush Management.

Registration is $25 per person.

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