Georgia crop yields suffer from drought

This year's first yield and production forecast for Georgia's row crops reveals the effects of extreme hot and dry weather conditions during most of June and July. Rainfall has been scattered throughout the growing season, and some non-irrigated cotton and dryland corn were plowed under.

Georgia's cotton acreage, originally pegged at about 1.45 million acres, was adjusted to 1.3 million acres following the latest grower survey, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service. The 1.3 million acres would be the same as 1999's cotton crop.

Cotton yields are expected to average 620 pounds of lint per harvested acre or 41 pounds more than in 1999. Cotton conditions vary extensively within local areas, depending on moisture received and scattered showers. As of the first part of August, about 30 percent of the cotton crop was rated in poor to very poor condition, while about 37 percent of the crop was rated in mostly good to excellent condition. Production for 2000 is estimated at 1,680,000 bales, seven percent above last year's 1.567,000 bales.

Corn yield for 2000 is expected to average 100 bushels per harvested acre or three bushels less than last year's 103-bushel average. Hot, dry weather during most of the summer has taken its toll on a portion of the crop. Yields on most non-irrigated corn have suffered due to adverse weather conditions.

Overall corn production is expected to total 34 million bushels from 340,000 acres harvested for grain. Production of this size would be 10 percent more than last year. The corn for grain harvest was off to a fast start, with 20 percent harvested by Aug. 6, compared with 12 percent harvested as the five-year average.

Peanut production in Georgia for 2000 is forecast at 1.27 billion pounds, or 10 percent less than 1999's production. The decrease in production is attributed to unfavorable weather and a decrease in harvested acres from 544,000 in 1999 to 507,000 acres this year.

Crop conditions vary considerably across south Georgia, depending on disease pressure and scattered showers. Yields across the Peanut Belt are expected to average 2,500 pounds per acre compared with 2,575 for 1999.

Soybean yields in Georgia are forecast at 19 bushels per harvested acre, the same as 1999's yield. If this early season forecast is realized, production will total 3.42 million bushels or five percent less than in 1999. Planted acreage is set at 200,000 acres, while harvested acres are estimated to be 180,000 acres.

Dry conditions have slowed development of this year's late-planted crop. Planted and harvested acres are the lowest since 1963 and 1964, respectively. Final soybean yield and production will depend heavily on August and September weather conditions.

Tobacco yields for 2000 are expected to average 2,050 pounds per acre or 110 pounds more than last year. Weather conditions and disease problems have affected yields. Fortunately, most of Georgia's crop is irrigated. At the end of July, the crop was rated in fair to good condition. Acreage harvested is expected to be 30,000 acres or 3,000 acres below last year. This puts potential production at 61.5 million pounds for the year 2000 or four percent less than in 1999.

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