New forecasts from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) project sizable increases in Arkansas agricultural output in 2012. Output figures from 2011 and projections for 2012 are summarized in the table below.
- Corn production, in particular, is expected to be up sharply from last year. The increase is attributable to increases in both the number of acres harvested (+23%) and the yield per acre (+23%).
- Cotton production is expected to fall slightly, in spite of a 7% increase in yield. The number of acres expected to be harvested is down 12%.
- Rice production is expected to be up 18%, with gains coming from increases in both acreage (+11%), and yield (+6%).
- Sorghum output is also expected to benefit from higher acreage (+22%) and yield (+11%).
- Soybean production is expected to be essentially unchanged from last year, with acreage down 2% and yield up 3%.
These statistics suggest that damage from this summer’s drought and from Hurrican Isaac are not as severe as many had feared — at least in Arkansas. Nationwide, the drought has had a larger impact. For example, U.S. corn production is forecast to be down 13% and soybean production down 14%. (Crop Production, September 2012).