A second year of drought conditions has seriously hurt corn, soybean and tobacco crops in Maryland and Delaware, prompting Farm Bureau officials to urge the states' farmers to purchase federal crop insurance.
The U.S. Agriculture Statistics Service reports that corn yields from Maryland's 1987 harvest are expected to average about 78 bushels per acre. That is about five bushels per acre more than in drought-stricken 1986, but nearly 40 bushels under the record set in 1984.
The reporting service's Nov. 1 forecast said total corn production in Maryland will be about 14 percent lower than last year because farmers have planted 115,000 fewer acres with corn.
As for soybeans, the average yield in Maryland is expected to be 24 bushels per acre, down from the 1986 level of 27 bushels. The record soybean yields of 32 bushels per acres were set in 1978 and 1985.
Tobacco yields are also expected to be down in the state, averaging about 1,220 pounds per acre, or about 100 pounds less than the 1986 average. The record yield was 1,390 pounds per acre in 1982.
Overall 1987 tobacco production should total about 13 percent less than last year's harvest of 21.1 million pounds.
Nationally, corn production is expected to be down 13 percent from last year, soybean production up 1 percent and tobacco production up 6 percent.
Bonnie Becker, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Farm Bureau, said about 50 percent of the grain in the state has been harvested already, with the average quality ranging only from fair to poor. She expressed concern that the relatively good nationwide harvest of soybeans will drive down the price and hurt Maryland farmers. x