2004 a Good Year for Utah's Crops

2004 a Good Year for Utah's Crops

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Last year was a banner one for some Utah farmers.

The state Agricultural Statistics Service reported double-digit percentage increases in production of spring wheat, barley and other hay production -- despite the state's persistent drought.

Winter wheat production numbers were the highest in five years, and spring wheat numbers were the best in the past nine years.

However, crops of corn for grain, alfalfa hay and dry edible beans decreased.

"Even though it was a pretty dry year, it turned out pretty fair," said Richard Kestle, the service's state director.

Although the yield increases are significant, the jump should be considered in context. Increases in 2004 appear more dramatic because they are compared with 2003, when the drought caused uncharacteristically low yields.

Some crop yields were lower last year compared with 2003. Alfalfa hay yields, for example, dropped 5 percent to 3.8 tons per acre.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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