Oregon 2004 ag statistics available online in special report

April 1, 2005

CORVALLIS - A snapshot of Oregon's 2004 agricultural performance in crop and livestock production and value of commodity sales is now available online.

The "2004 Oregon County and State Agricultural Estimates" (Special Report 790-04) was prepared by the Oregon State University Extension Service. It includes 2004 agricultural statistics for the state's livestock production and over 80 Oregon grown crops in all of the state's 36 counties. It can be viewed at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/sr/sr790-04.pdf

The report highlights Oregon's agricultural diversity, which is a major factor in keeping Oregon agriculture prosperous and growing.

"More than 84 Oregon grown crop and livestock commodities grossed $1 million or more in farm gate sales last year," said Larry Burt, OSU Extension agricultural economist. "Economic returns for various agricultural products are always going to rise and fall depending on market conditions, but having nearly 100 agricultural commodities that earn significant economic returns really helps the overall agricultural sector stay healthy from year to year."

For example, Burt noted that in the last five years Oregon agricultural farm gate sales have trended upward by an average of about 2.2 percent annually. Overall, agricultural sales in 2004, at $3.8 billion, were up 9 percent over the previous year's level of $3.48 billion, and about 13 percent higher than the estimated 1999 level of $3.32 billion. Declining sales in 2001-02 were more than offset by steady increases in 2003-04.

Burt offered the following highlights for the state's major commodities:

In the livestock industries, every sector showed increases in 2004 gross sales over the previous year.

Dairy products led the way earning $327 million in 2004, a 16 percent increase from the 2003 level of $282 million. Both cow numbers and milk yields continued to increase in 2004 compared to 2003. A major factor, however, was a milk price increase of almost 12 percent statewide to about $14.40 per hundredweight.

Cattle and calve prices continued to improve. In 2004, total sales statewide amounted to an estimated $592 million, up 9 percent from the previous year, making cattle and calves the top commodity in 2004 as measured by gross sales.

Nursery and greenhouse crops taken together continue to be the leading commodity in Oregon. In 2004 they had estimated statewide gross sales of $719 million, up about 7 percent over 2003. Since 2000 when gross sales were estimated at $584 million statewide, this industry has trended upward at about 5.3 percent per year.

Grains were up about 34 percent in sales from last year to $216 million. Greatly improved yields from less drought-like conditions and modestly improved prices for wheat and barley more than offset decreased acreage in many growing areas.

Hay and Forage crops have been steady over the past five years as sales increased each year. In 2000, gross sales were estimated to be $169 million. By 2004 they amounted to $226 million. Harvested acreage increases and steady to slightly higher yields in each of the past five years for alfalfa hay more than offset a mild downtrend in grower prices per ton of alfalfa hay.

Grass Seed and Legume sales increased 20 percent, up to $351 million in 2004, over the previous year's level. A slight increase in harvested acreage, statewide modestly improved yields for many grass seed and legume crops, and steady to slightly higher prices all contributed to the increase in sales.

Tree Fruits and Nuts, increased over 12 percent in gross sales — up to $238 million in 2004—over the previous year. Yields improved for many of the major tree fruit crops in 2004. Over the past five-year period, tree fruits also had a steadying effect on overall agricultural sales, rising steadily from $180 million in sales in 2000 to $238 million in 2004. Hazelnut prices were up almost 30 percent in 2004 compared to the previous year.

Hazelnut growers had two consecutive years of large crops, which is unusual, Burt said. Typically, the trees are alternate year bearing with a large crop followed the next year by a smaller crop, he said. Prices for hazelnuts continued to improve due to weather problems in major production areas overseas, he added.

The only crop sector showing a decline statewide from the previous year was Vegetables and Truck Crops, which fell 6 percent from $244 million in 2003 sales to $229 million last year. The major factor contributing to the decrease was falling prices for dry storage onions, which dropped more than 40 percent from 2003 levels.

Author: Bob Rost
Source: Larry Burt