Calumet farmers excelled despite drought

Amid the drought which affected agricultural crop production during the latter half of the 2012 growing season, Calumet County emerged with the highest per acre average yields for two crops—soybeans and dry alfalfa hay—and posted impressive yields for several other crops.

According to reports issued earlier this year by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Calumet County’s soybean growers harvested an average of 55.8 bushels per acre from 22,500 acres in 2012 for a total crop of 1.262 million bushels. Neighboring Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties had average per acre yields of 53.8 and 53.3 bushels per acre, respectively, compared to the statewide average of 42 bushels of soybeans per acre in 2012.

Calumet County also stood at the top of the list of the state’s counties for average yields of dry alfalfa hay in 2012. Its average yield was 3.4 dry matter tons per acre, providing a total crop of 43,500 tons from 13,000 harvested acres. The average yield across the state for 2012 was 2.3 tons.

The dry hay yield category was also well represented by counties which border Calumet. Manitowoc County placed second with an average yield of 3.3 tons per acre while Brown and Sheboygan counties stood in fourth place among the state’s counties with average dry alfalfa hay yields of three tons per acre in 2012.

On corn for grain in 2012, Calumet County posted an average yield of 153 bushels on each of the approximately 29,500 harvested acres for a total crop of 4.5 million bushels. This was the fourth highest average yield among the state’s counties and well above the state average yield of 121 bushels per acre for corn grain.

For corn silage, Calumet County’s average was 17 tons per acre for total production of 367,000 tons from 21,200 harvested acres. The average yield was significantly above the state average of 14.5 tons in 2012 and was in the top 10 among counties.

Growers of winter wheat in Calumet County harvested an average of 80.2 bushels from 5,800 acres for a total crop of 465,000 bushels in 2012. This was among the top 10 average yields in the state.

Calumet County did not have enough acres of oats harvested for grain in 2012 to be listed in the state’s annual statistical report. In 2011, however, the county’s 1,100 harvested acres had an average yield of 75.5 bushels per acre, which was the third highest average in the state.

Similarly, no statistics were published for Calumet County on dry hay other than alfalfa for 2012. Among the counties listed in that category for 2011, Calumet County had the highest per acre average of 2.8 tons compared to the state average of 1.9 tons.

In the dairy sector, statistics for individual counties in Wisconsin for 2012 had not yet been published by the third week of May. It is known, however, that Calumet County has approximately 140 dairy farms licensed to ship milk to the commercial market.

During 2011, the 29,500 cows on the county’s farms produced an average of 23,900 pounds of milk. This ranked fifth among the state’s counties—a statistic on which Manitowoc County led the herd with an average milk production of 24,900 pounds by its more than 51,000 dairy cows in 2010 and 2011.