Good year expected for Georgia small grains

Georgia small grain producers have enjoyed a second consecutive year of good yields in 2001, with generally good growing conditions and near-record yields from wheat and rye crops, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.

The growing season for the 2001 small grain crops started drier than normal, but rain began falling in November of 2000 and continued into the spring of 2001. Freezing weather in early January and again in March caused some crop damage, and rains during June hampered the harvesting of small grains.

Harvest in Georgia was later than normal but was completed by mid-July. Despite the lack of early moisture, extremely cold weather in January and rains during harvest, small grain yields were good in Georgia.

All wheat planted in the state for the 2001 crop was 300,000 acres, the same as in 2000. The drier-than-normal fall allowed growers to plant their intended acreage. Wheat harvested for grain was 200,000 acres, again the same as last year.

The statewide average wheat yield, set at 53 bushels per acre, was one bushel below last year's record yield. Production totaled 10.6 million bushels or 2 percent less than in 2000.

Oats planted for the 2001 crop showed an increase of 30,000 acres from a year earlier to 100,000 acres. Oats harvested for grain was at 35,000 acres, the same as in 2000. The statewide average yield for oats was 65 bushels per acre, 7 bushels per acre less than the record of 72 bushels per acre in 2000. Production totaled 2.28 million bushels, down 10 percent from last year's 2.52 million bushels.

Georgia's acreage planted to rye, at 300,000 acres, was 30 percent more than was planted in 2000. Most of the rye in Georgia is used for winter grazing and winter cover crops. However, 35,000 acres were kept to maturity and harvested for grain and seed. This acreage is 10,000 less than in 2000. Yields averaged 25 bushels per acre, 1 bushel per acre less than in 2000. Production was down 25 percent from a year ago at 875,000 bushels.

U.S. wheat production in 2001 totaled 1.96 billion bushels, down 2 percent from the last forecast and 12 percent below 2000. This is the lowest production since 1988. Grain area is 48.7 million acres, down 8 percent from last year and the smallest area harvested since 1972. The U.S. yield is 40.2 bushels per acre, down 1.8 bushels from a year ago.

Oat production in the United States is estimated at 117 million bushels or 22 percent below last year's 150 million bushels. This is the lowest production on record. The estimated yield is 61.3 bushels per acre, down 2.0 bushels from 2000 levels. Area for harvest is estimated at a record-low 1.91 million acres or 18 percent below last year.

U.S. rye production for 2001 is estimated at 6.97 million bushels, down 17 percent from last year. This is the lowest production on record. Harvested area totaled 255,000 acres or 14 percent below 2000. The U.S. yield, at 27.3 bushels per acre, is down one bushel from last season.

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