sealPurdue News

February 1998

Hoosier farmers hold the line

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Indiana's agricultural production rankings among the states showed few fluctuations in the past year, according to Ralph Gann, state statistician for the Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service.

Indiana's ag production rankings
First Popcorn, Ducks, Egg-type chicks hatched
Third Tomatoes for processing
Fourth Soybeans, Chickens (excluding broilers), Total eggs produced, Peppermint
Fifth Hogs, Corn for grain, Cantaloupes, Spearmint
Sixth Pig crop, Ice cream production, Watermelons
Seventh Turkeys, Blueberries, Snap beans for processing
Eighth Tobacco
Ninth Cucumbers for processing
14th Winter wheat, Sweet corn
15th Cattle on feed
16th Tomatoes for fresh market
17th Milk cows, Milk production
18th Commercial apples, Oats
20th Rye
22nd Lamb crop
24th Freestone peaches, Potatoes, Wool production
27th Hay
28th Sheep and lambs
30th Beef cows
33rd All cattle and calves, Calf crop
34th Honey production
In crop production, Indiana's ranking improved for tobacco, winter wheat, oats, rye, potatoes and hay. The ranking dropped for fresh-market tomatoes and peaches. As for livestock, Indiana moved up in milk cows and lamb crop and dropped in cattle on feed, beef cows, sheep and pig crop.

"Livestock numbers have dropped somewhat," Gann says, "while they're increasing in other states. There's been a shift in where these enterprises are."

For instance, he says, as Indiana's pig crop went down 2 percent, Missouri's increased by 8 percent, allowing it to pass Indiana in state rankings. The Hoosier pig crop now ranks sixth.

"Indiana producers decreased farrowing by 35,000 sows during the first half of the year, while Missouri remained unchanged," Gann says. In the second half of the year, Indiana's pig crop remaining unchanged, while Missouri's rose.

Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt says overall hog production in the primary Midwestern states has been declining throughout the past decade, and there has been a redistribution of the industry toward North Carolina and the southwestern and western fringes of the Corn Belt. Concern about the environment has caused production to grow in more sparsely populated areas, where there are fewer disagreements about land use.

"There's a great deal of concern about conflict between hogs and people in our region -- more so than in other areas," Hurt says. "Our trend in Indiana has been to remain stable."

Indiana's higher ranking in tobacco production was due to increased acreage and a return to near-average yields, which led to the largest total production of tobacco since 1992, Gann says.

"Winter wheat acreage was reduced, but yield returned to the fourth-highest on record. There was a 20-bushel-per-acre increase over the '96 crop," he says.

Purdue Extension wheat specialist Ellsworth Christmas says absence of head disease in the '97 winter wheat crop was the No. 1 reason yields went to 58 bushels an acre.

"It was a direct result of the weather," he says. "It was relatively dry during flowering, which reduces head disease."

On Indiana's 23,200,000 total acres, there are 62,000 farms with 13,366,000 acres in cropland. Total land in farms equals 15,900,000 acres. The average farm size is 256 acres. Most farming operations -- 85 percent -- are individually owned.

CONTACT: Gann, (765) 494-8371; e-mail,

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