USDA Annual Report Shows Changes Trends In Planted Crops

By Heather van Blokland
Published: Friday, June 29, 2018 - 7:15pm

The United States Department of Agriculture's annual report for the crop year 2018 is out and Arizona’s barley growers planted 12,000 acres, the lowest level in 90 years.

State agriculture has changed dramatically over the last several decades. Temperatures are hotter and water is more scarce. Mike Ottman is an agronomist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He says that means farmers must choose planting certain crops over others each year.

“The farmers now are squeezed and they need to grow more profitable crops," he said.

He said barley planting is down because its price has fallen. And that goes for other crops, too. Ottman said over the last thirty years, the alfalfa acreage in Arizona has doubled as its price has gone up. Alfalfa is a primary grain used for dairy cattle. Ottman says feed grains are now a bigger crop for the state than cotton.

(Credit: USDA)
Graph of Arizona barley planted acres.

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