© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

South Carolina's corn crop yields are up (quite a lot, actually) since last year

South Carolina's 390,000 acres of planted corn crops in 2023 is up 22 percent from where it was a year ago, according to the USDA.
South Carolina's 390,000 acres of planted corn crops in 2023 is up 22 percent from where it was a year ago, according to the USDA.

The cornfields of the Southeast are more abundant this year – nowhere more so, comparatively, than in South Carolina, thanks in large part to research from South Carolina.

Corn acreage planted in the Palmetto State this year was 390,000 acres, which is up 22% from the acres planted last year, according to the latest USDA Crop Production Report.

According to the Clemson University Extension, South Carolina farmers expect to produce 51.1 million bushels of corn this year, up 40% from 2022.

Compared to Alabama, Florida, and Georgia – the three other members of the USDA’s Southeastern Region – South Carolina’s total planted acres of corn saw the largest year-to-year increase in the region. Alabama’s corn acreage grew by 20%, which is exactly how much South Carolina’s peanut crops grew since last year.

South Carolina’s increase in peanut plant acres this year is also the largest for that crop in the Southeastern Region.

Researchers Michael Plumblee and Bennett Harrelson of the Clemson University Extension are being credited with helping regional farmers fight parasitic nematodes, which can be disastrous to crops like corn and soybeans. The researchers say that a nematicide to help protect the crops is showing promise; the researchers are experimenting with different configurations of crops, nematicide, and insecticides.

The state’s soybean crops were up a more modest 9%from 2022, but that’s still a higher increase than any Southeastern Region state except for Alabama. Winter wheat, tobacco, and, particularly, cotton – down 15% from 2022 – all saw smaller acreage in South Carolina this year compared to last.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.