Closing the Loop: Surveys to Reports

By: David Knopf

Director, NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Field Office

                NASS conducts more than 400 surveys every year as part of our mission to provide useful, accurate data in a timely manner to the agricultural community. We always encourage all producers to sign up to receive reports that come out of those surveys. Getting the report closes the loop for producers who’ve responded to surveys and want to see the data, but it also provides valuable information to all producers who are represented by the sample answering the surveys. Those interested can visit the state web pages and click the link to receive NASS reports as they come out. As always individual responses to surveys are kept confidential, and the data is provided in aggregate form so that no individual operation or farmer is identified.

Our largest survey, the Census of Agriculture, is still ongoing. The CoA, conducted every five years, is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. It’s a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them. From small plots of urban and rural land to large farms with thousands of acres, the Census counts them all plus looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, and income and expenditures. If you haven’t responded yet, there’s still time. In order to have the most complete, accurate data, we need every farmer to respond. Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture will be available in February 2019.

Below are data from NASS surveys conducted in the 2017 fall and winter.

Kentucky Winter Wheat County Estimates

Kentucky farmers harvested 23.9 million bushels of winter wheat in 2017, down 25 percent from the previous year. Yield averaged 77 bushels per acre, down three bushels from 2016. Area harvested for grain totaled 310,000 acres. Acres for other uses totaled 170,000. Kentucky ranks 14th in the nation in winter wheat production.


The top five counties in production are:

Christian County – 4,222,000 bushels

Logan County – 3,382,000 bushels

Todd County – 2,330,000 bushels

Simpson County – 1,966,000 bushels

Graves County – 1,364,000 bushels.


The top five counties for yield are:

Wayne County – 84.4 bushels per acre

Meade County – 83.8 bushels per acre

Union County – 83.1 bushels per acre

Caldwell County – 82.8 bushels per acre

Daviess County – 81.2 bushels per acre.


Upcoming county estimates release dates:

Corn and Soybeans – Feb. 22, 2018

Hay – April 19, 2018

Tobacco – April 26, 2018 


Kentucky 2017 Crop Production Summary

Corn production estimated at 217 million bushels, down two percent from 2016.  Corn yield estimated at 178 bushels per acre, up 19 bushels from 2016.

Acres for harvest as grain were estimated at 1.22 million acres, down 180,000 acres from 2016.

The corn yield set a new record high, besting the previous record in 2015 by six bushels. The 2017 corn production ranks as the fifth largest corn crop in the Commonwealth.

Soybean production estimated at 103 million bushels, up 16 percent from 2016.  Soybean yield estimated at 53 bushels per acre, up three bushels from 2016.

Acreage for harvest as beans was estimated at 1.94 million acres, up 160,000 acres from 2016.

The soybean yield surpassed the previous 50-bushels-per-acre levels achieved in 2013 and 2016.    Soybean production for 2017 is the largest ever on record in Kentucky, outpacing the previous record by 16 percent.

Burley tobacco production estimated at 129 million pounds, up 21 percent from 2016.   Yield was estimated at 2,050 pounds per acre, up 300 pounds from the 2016 crop.

Harvested acreage was estimated at 63,000 acres, up 2,000 acres from 2016’s crop.

Dark fire-cured tobacco production estimated at 38 million pounds, up 74 percent from 2016.

Dark air-cured tobacco production is estimated at 16.2 million pounds, up 111 percent from last year.

Alfalfa hay production forecast at 525,000 tons, down three percent from the 2016 level.

Other hay production estimated at 4.8 million tons, down five percent from last year.

To see the complete 2017 Crop Production Summary, visit

  Kentucky Cattle Inventory as of Jan. 1, 2018

All cattle:  2,160,000; down 10,000 from 2017

Beef cows:  1,030,000; up 10,000 from 2017

Milk cows:  57,000; unchanged from 2017

As always, you can contact the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Field Office in Kentucky with any questions or concerns about surveys and reports. We like hearing from our producers and data users.

(800) 928-5277