Georgia farmers boost cotton, peanut and soybean acreage

Georgia’s latest crop survey shows that the state’s farmers planted the acreage they estimated they would plant of cotton, peanuts and soybeans when first surveyed in March, according to the state’s agricultural statistics service.

Georgia farmers have increased their acreage of cotton, peanuts and soybeans over last year’s crops. The latest survey shows that farmers actually increased their planted acreage of peanuts and soybeans over what they predicted in March. Cotton acreage declined slightly from March, but still is more than in 2003.

In the latest survey, Georgia peanut producers indicated they planted 580,000 acres, up 15,000 acres from the acreage reported in the March prospective plantings report. This is an increase of 35,0000 acres more than the 2003 crop. As of July 4, 64 percent of the crop was in good condition.

Nationwide, peanut growers have planted 1.39 million acres, up 3 percent from 2003. Southeast growers in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina planted 940,000 acres, up 7 percent from 2003.

Georgia cotton growers planted an estimated 1.33 million acres of cotton, which is slightly less than the 1.35 million acres growers said they intended too plant when surveyed in March. However, this is 30,000 more acres than was planted in 2003.

As of July 4, 60 percent of Georgia’s cotton crop was rated in good condition. Georgia currently has the second largest cotton acreage in the nation, coming in behind Texas, where cotton growers are estimated to have planted 6 million acres of Upland cotton and 17,000 acres of American Pima cotton. Nationwide, all cotton plantings for 2004 are expected to total 13.9 million acres or 3 percent more than in 2003.

Georgia soybean producers have planted 250,000 acres this year, up 20,000 acres from the March estimate and up 60,000 acres from the 2003 crop. As of July 4, 56 percent of the crop was rated in good condition. Nationwide, farmers planted 74.8 million acres.

Corn plantings in Georgia for 2004 totaled 330,000 acres this year. This is 10,000 acres less than the 2003 crop but the same acreage farmers anticipated planting when surveyed in March. As of July 4, 52 percent of the crop was rated good. Nationwide, farmers planted an estimated 81 million acres.

Georgia farmers expect to harvest 580,000 acres of hay this year, down 20,000 from 2003. This is 70,000 acres less than what they anticipated harvesting when surveyed in March. Dry conditions limited hay growth in the spring, but recent rainfall offered hope for a good summer crop.

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