2023 crop yields are a mixed bag for NC farmers

A cotton field awaiting harvest in Dundarrach, NC in November 2023. (PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL)

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s mid-November agricultural reports reveal a mixed bag for staple crops compared to October, with notable year-over-year changes. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, the state’s Corn yields are up during the fall harvest and peanut and cotton yields are down and soybeans are relatively flat compared to last year.

Corn production has shown resilience, with a yield increase of 17 bushels per acre from last year, although this is a slight decrease from October’s early estimate. Corn’s overall production is up a robust 30% with 128.7 million bushels projected versus less than 99 million bushels in 2022. Harvested acres and better yields combined to buoy the state’s corn crop.

Cotton has experienced a downturn. A combination of lower yields, which are projected to be down over 10% from last year, and a 20% decline in acres planted has the state’s overall cotton production forecasted to be 28% lower than last year’s crop of over 1 million bales.

Peanut yields have slightly decreased since October, with a minor 1% drop in production year-over-year. Soybeans have held steady in yield since October with slight increases in yield versus 2022 and production appears to be slightly lower than last year.