Economic Tidbits

Nebraska Crop Production Off

Figures released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service earlier this month provide the latest evidence of the impacts of drought and other weather related events on last year’s crop production. With the exception of potatoes and sunflowers, where production increased 4 percent and 34 percent respectively, production of all other crops in Nebraska was markedly lower, off between 10-65 percent compared to 2021 (Figure 1). Sorghum had the largest drop, off 65 percent, with the decline occuring even though acres planted were the same. Wheat had the second-largest drop of 36 percent. Neither sorghum or wheat are typically irrigated, so drought dealt them the heaviest blows. All hay production, including alfalfa, was off almost one-third.

Figure 1. Nebraska Crop Production: 2022 vs. 2021

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Nebraska’s two largest crops, corn and soybeans, had production declines of 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Planted acres of corn, 9.6 million, were down 300,000 compared to 2021 aiding the production decline, but the biggest contributor was that the average yield dropped to 165 bushels per acre, off 31 bushels. Also, abandoned acres, the difference between planted and harvested acres were larger last year totaling 780,000 acres, more than double the average of 375,000 acres since 1990. Soybean acres planted last year were a bit higher compared to 2021, but again yield dragged at 49 bushels compared to 63 bushels in 2021.

Figure 2 shows Nebraska’s corn and soybean production since 1990. Production of both crops has grown over time with corn production in 2022 1.5 times larger than 1990 and soybean production 3.4 times larger. However, corn production last year checked in as the lowest since 2008 and soybeans was the lowest since 2013. Higher crop prices, though, offset the production losses. At a result, despite the production shortfalls, crop revenues for Nebraska farmers are expected to be higher compared to 2021. Still, anytime farmers experience production shortfalls, they can’t help but wonder what might have been.

Figure 2. Nebraska Corn/Soybean Production (1990-2022)

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

You may also like