Northampton Co. Forecast as the Leading Wheat Producing County in Virginia in 2017

Wheat- prettyThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced that Northampton County is forecast to be the number one locality in Virginia in wheat production this year. Shenandoah County had the highest yield (amount produced per acre). Amelia is the leading barley-producing county with Rockingham projected to have the highest barley yield.

The county estimates for winter wheat and barley are based on farmer-reported information from the Small Grains County Agricultural Production Survey and the September Agricultural Survey.

Northampton County is the leading wheat producing county in Virginia for 2017, with production totaling 660,000 bushels, harvested from 9,700 acres. The top five counties include:

Northampton County – 660,000 bushels

Accomack County – 658,000 bushels

Caroline County – 620,000 bushels

Essex County – 616,000 bushels

Westmoreland County – 530,000 bushels

Shenandoah County had the highest yield at 82.5 bushels per acre. The top five counties for yield include:

Shenandoah County – 82.5 bushels per acre

Frederick County – 81.8 bushels per acre

Loudoun County – 79.8 bushels per acre

Caroline County – 74.3 bushels per acre

Rockingham County – 74 bushels per acre

“The wheat crop got a good start in the fall of 2016, and the season ended with farmers reporting improved crop yields over last year,” said Herman Ellison, Virginia state statistician with NASS. “A mid-March freeze, followed by cooler than normal temperatures and moist conditions limited yield potential for some farmers. This year’s crop experienced more acreage than normal that was not harvested for grain as a result of frost damage, but yields for that which was harvested were near, or above normal.”

Virginia farmers harvested 9.57 million bushels of winter wheat in 2017, up three percent from the previous year. Yield averaged 66 bushels per acre, up 13 bushels from 2016. Farmers seeded 210,000 acres last fall, the same number acres as 2016. Area harvested for grain totaled 145,000 acres. Acres for other uses totaled 65,000 acres.

NASS is publishing barley county estimates for four Virginia counties. Amelia County is the leading barley producing county for 2017, with production totaling 55,100 bushels, harvested from 680 acres.

Amelia County – 55,100 bushels

Shenandoah County – 43,800 bushels

Madison County – 30,200 bushels

Rockingham County – 27,600 bushels

Rockingham County led with the highest barley yield at 86.3 bushels per acre.

Rockingham County – 86.3 bushels per acre

Shenandoah County – 84.2 bushels per acre

Amelia County – 81 bushels per acre

Madison County – 57 bushels per acre

“Progress for the barley crop began about normal and finished ahead of normal,” Ellison said. “Most of the barley farmers are happier with the 2017 crop yield results when compared to the 2016 crop.”

Barley production for Virginia is 803,000 bushels, down just under one percent from 2016. Average yield per acre, at 73 bushels, is up six bushels from the previous year. Producers seeded 30,000 acres in 2016, down 3,000 acres from last year. Harvested acres, at 11,000 acres, is down 1,000 acres from 2016.

“The county yield estimates we publish are used by other USDA agencies, such as Farm Service and Risk Management Agencies,” Ellison said. “FSA’s Agricultural Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, County Loan Rates, Loan Repayment Rates and its disaster assistance program calculations all integrate the data from this survey. RMA uses the information for its Area Risk Protection Insurance Plan, establishment of transitional yields, and determining when to make crop loss insurance payments.”

Over the next several months, NASS will release county estimates for corn, soybeans, hay, tobacco, cotton and peanuts.

Corn and Soybeans – Feb. 22, 2018

Hay – April 19, 2018

Tobacco – April 26, 2018

Cotton and Peanuts – May 10, 2018

For a complete listing of winter wheat and barley county estimates for each county see For more information, call the NASS Virginia Field Office at 804.771.8560.

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