Alabama crop yield records broken

Like other states in the lower Southeast, Alabama enjoyed excellent crop yields during the 2001 growing season, according to the year's final crop production summary.

Favorable weather conditions throughout the growing season and adequate to surplus moisture helped to produce bumper yields for most crops, according to the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service. Unfortunately, low market prices dampened crop receipts.

“Land preparation got off to a slow start in 2001 but soon moved ahead of schedule as weather permitted,” says Herb Vanderberry, state statistician. “This delay caused some farmers to plant later than normal.”

Alabama's corn growers produced a record yield of 107 bushels per acre in 2001, 42 bushels per acre more than in 2000 and four bushels above the previous record set in 1999. Corn planted acreage was a record-low 180,000 acres this past year, down 10 percent from last year, with acreage harvested for grain at 150,000 acres. Corn production in 2001 was 16.1 million bushels or 50 percent more than the 2000 crop.

Acreage planted to cotton in 2001 was 610,000 acres and area harvested was 605,000 acres, up 3 and 14 percent respectively. Good to excellent growing conditions for cotton produced a yield of 706 pounds of lint per acre. This is 214 pounds per acre more than 2000's drought-reduced yield, and it's the highest yield since 1996. Cotton harvest was interrupted in Alabama by scattered showers during the latter weeks of December.

Alabama's peanut production in 2001 was 547.3 million pounds, the largest since 1992. Yields averaged 2,750 pounds per acre — nearly double 2000's yield and the largest since 1985. Harvested acreage was 199,000 acres, up 17,000 acres from 2000.

A record soybean yield of 35 bushels per acre was realized in Alabama this past year. This is one bushel more than the record set in 1996. Soybean fields across the state mostly were in good to excellent condition throughout the growing season. Planting lagged behind schedule due to excessive amounts of rainfall. However, by midsummer, sunny weather conditions allowed soybean progress to accelerate. Soybean production totaled 4.73 million bushels compared to 2.90 million bushels in 2000. The harvested area of 135,000 acres was down 25,000 acres from the previous year.

Hay harvested acreage, at 920,000, was the highest it has been since 1948. Hay yield was 2.6 tons compared to the record 2.7 tons harvested in 1994. Pasture and livestock conditions were rated good to excellent during most of the year.

Alabama's winter wheat seedings for the 2002 crop are estimated at 150,000 acres. In 2001, 170,000 acres were seeded.

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