Amidst extreme drought and record high input costs, Iowa farmers report record corn and soybean yields in 2021
The 2022 Iowa Agricultural Statistics, a comprehensive overview by Iowa’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) office and released by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), found Iowa’s corn yield in 2021 averaged 205 bushels per acre, breaking the previous high of 203 in 2016. Iowa’s soybean crop yielded an average of 63 bushels per acre, eclipsing the old record of 60, also set in 2016.
“Technology advancements in seed and precision agriculture have allowed farmers to increase yields, even during drought,” said Brent Johnson, IFBF President. “It also enables us to use less fertilizer which reduces inputs and water quality impacts. Iowa is a global leader in seed genetics research, and farmers continue to make big strides in both practice and management, which has helped us produce more food, fuel and fiber while using fewer resources and remaining focused on sustainability.”
In addition to having a highly productive crop year in 2021, Iowa livestock farmers led the nation in commercial red meat production. NASS data found that Iowa ranked first nationally in pigs raised and egg production, fourth for cattle and calves on feed and seventh for turkey production. Iowa ranks first in corn production, and second for both soybeans and oats.
“Iowa is home to nearly 85,000 farms with a tremendous amount of diversity among commodities raised, production practices and size,” said Johnson. “A significant portion of Iowa farms are small scale, with 60% of Iowa farms having less than $99,999 in annual sales, and regardless of whether a farm operation is conventional or caters to a niche market, we continue to see new opportunities and productivity increase.”
While Iowa ag production continues to rise, the analysis found that farmers are feeling the economic crunch amidst inflation and rising cost to grow a crop and raise livestock. The NASS survey found that statewide land values set a record high average in 2021 of $9,751 per acre, contributing to rising cash rent rates. Additionally, Iowa farmers faced a record year for farm production expenses in 2021, with per acre expenses up $1,000 from 2020. The cost of production is expected to rise yet again for 2022, amidst rising input costs and a fertilizer crisis.
“Perseverance and farming go hand-in-hand; from volatile markets to Mother Nature, there will always be challenges, but Iowa farmers continue to rise up to overcome obstacles and cement our status as some of the most productive farmers in the nation,” Johnson said.
The $12 stats book can be ordered from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. Checks should be made payable to the Iowa Farm Bureau.
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