WASHINGTON — The estimated value of U.S. crop production in 1986 plummeted 24 percent to $58 billion from $76.7 billion in 1985, an annual report by the Agriculture Department showed Tuesday.
Farmers generally harvested good yields last year, but market prices were down for some key commodities, reflecting partly a decline in exports and lower government price supports. The record value was in 1982 when total crop values were estimated at about $82 billion.
The 1986 corn harvest was worth about $12.4 billion, down from $21 billion in 1985, the report said. The average price during 1986-87 corn marketing year was projected at $1.49 per bushel, down from $2.37 for the 1985 harvest.
Officials cautioned that the estimates are based on production multiplied by estimated average prices. The dollar amounts are not the same as "cash receipts" from crop sales, which reflect the value of commodities actually sold by farmers during a calendar year.
The annual figures do provide a look at the book value of crops and can be useful in comparing one commodity with another.
According to the report, the No. 2 crop in value was soybeans at $9.33 billion, down from $10.6 billion last season.