U.S. Is Rarely No. 1 in Yields

Published on: 10:00AM Jun 07, 2012

I think it is fairly common for us as Americans to assume that our agricultural production leads the world in yields. But when you review the average yields by variety, in many cases the U.S. does not even make the top 5 for yield. This may be partly due to smaller countries using irrigation on all of their crops for that particular variety; but, having visited Europe a few times and viewing their agricultural production, I can vouch that many of these farmers "baby" their crops more than we do. Many of them make a living off of 100 acres instead of 1,000, so they have to maximize their yields.

For example, I pulled the top 5 yielding countries for various crops as follows:


  1. Jordan                  318 bu. per acre
  2. Chile                     191 bu. per acre
  3. New Zealand          175 bu. per acre
  4. U.S.                      159 bu. per acre
  5. Canada                  143 bu. per acre



  1. Argentina             43 bu. per acre
  2. U.S.                     41 bu. per acre
  3. Brazil                    40 bu. per acre
  4. Canada                 37 bu. per acre
  5. China                   27 bu. per acre



  1. New Zealand         119 bu. per acre
  2. Zambia                 104 bu. per acre
  3. Switzerland             89 bu. per acre
  4. Chile                       88 bu. per acre
  5. Egypt                      87 bu. per acre


As you can see, for corn we are No. 4, for soybeans No. 2, and for wheat, we don't make the top 5. 

Many of these countries can learn from our production methods, but I think we can learn from theirs too.