Canola production down, alfalfa up from last year

Based on Oct. 1 conditions, canola production in Montana is forecast at 91.50 million pounds, down 3 percent from the 2015 crop, according to the Oct. 1 Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. Acreage harvested is expected to total 61,000 acres, down 16,000 acres from the 77,000 harvested last year.

Canola yield is forecast at 1,500 pounds per acre, up from 1,220 pounds per acre last year.

Alfalfa hay production in Montana is forecast to total 3.57 million tons this year, up from the 3.40 million tons produced in 2015.

Montana farmers and ranchers expect to harvest 1.70 million acres of alfalfa hay this year, unchanged from 2015. Alfalfa hay yield is expected to average 2.10 tons per acre, compared with last year’s yield of 2.00 tons per acre and the Aug. 1 forecast of 2.10 tons per acre. Producers expect to harvest 950,000 acres of other hay in 2016, up 150,000 acres from last year. Other hay production is forecast at 1.71 million tons, up 34 percent from 1.28 million tons a year ago. Other hay yield is expected to average 1.80 tons per acre, compared with last year’s yield of 1.60 tons per acre and the Aug. 1 forecast 1.50 tons per acre.

Sugarbeet production in Montana is forecast at 1.43 million tons, down 1 percent from the 1.44 million tons produced in 2015. Growers expect to harvest 45,200 acres this year compared with 43,700 a year ago. Yields are expected to average 31.7 tons per acre, unchanged from the Sept. 1, forecast but down from last year’s yield of 33.0 tons per acre. As of Oct. 2, Montana’s sugarbeet crop condition was rated 3 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 64 percent good and 12 percent excellent. Harvest of sugarbeets was estimated at 22 percent complete, compared with 19 percent last year and the five-year average of 12 percent.

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