Weather conditions for the 2008 crop year were warmer and drier than normal, according to the USDA, NASS, Georgia Field Office. The spring was dry over most of the state, and this trend continued through most of the summer, although the southern part of the state did receive more rain than other parts of the State.

Temperatures for the spring and summer were above normal.

Showers became more frequent during late August and early September. These showers proved most beneficial to crops. The dry fall provided for excellent harvesting conditions.

Considering the weather conditions during the growing season, yields for some crops were much better than earlier anticipated.

• Cotton: The cotton crop was much better than earlier thought for the 2008 crop year. Yield per harvested acre averaged 840 pounds per acre, 3 pounds less than the previous estimate, but 39 pounds more than last year’s yield. Harvesting progressed normally. Planted acreage was set at 940,000 acres. Harvested acres, at 920,000 acres, were 20,000 acres less than the December estimate, and 75,000 acres less than 2007. Georgia’s production in 2008 is expected to total 1.61 million bales (480 pounds), down 3 percent from the 1.66 million produced in 2007.

• Corn: Georgia’s corn crop for 2008 was better than originally thought. The yield was 140 bushels per harvested acre, which is a state record. This yield was 15 bushels more than the previous estimate and 13 bushels more than 2007’s 127 bushels per acre. Corn planted for all purposes was 370,000 acres, 140,000 acres less than in 2007. Acreage harvested for grain was at 310,000 acres, 140,000 acres less than the previous year. Grain production was 43.4 million bushels, down 24 percent from 2007. Corn harvested for silage numbered 45,000 acres, up 5,000 acres from 2007. Silage yield was 18 tons per acre, unchanged from 2007. Corn that was abandoned or for ‘other uses’ was 15,000 acres.

• Peanuts: Peanut production for Georgia was 2.33 billion pounds, 44 percent more than in 2007. The increase in production was a result of an increase in yields and acres. Planted acres, at 690,000, were up 30 percent from the previous year and harvested acres, at 685,000, were up 32 percent from 2007. Yields averaged 3,400 pounds per acre, 280 pounds more than 2007 and the second highest on record. Timely rains during the latter part of August and early September, plus lots of irrigation made for a much better crop than earlier thought.

• Soybeans: Soybean production is set at 12.5 million bushels. This production is 46 percent more than 2007. The increase in production can be attributed to a large increase in acreage. Planted acres at 430,000, was up 46 percent from the previous year. Harvested acres at 415,000, was up 46 percent from 2007. Yield averaged 30 bushels per acre, the same as 2007.

• Tobacco: Tobacco production in 2008 was 33.6 million pounds compared with 39.8 million pounds in 2007. This production represents a 16 percent decrease from the previous year. Yields averaged 2,100 pounds in 2008, compared with 2,150 pounds per acre in 2007. Acreage was 16,000 compared with 18,500 in 2007. Disease problems were at a minimum for this crop.

• Sorghum: Sorghum acres planted for all purposes were 60,000 acres, compared to 65,000 acres in 2007. Harvested acres for grain were 44,000, down 1,000 acres from the previous year. Yield averaged 44 bushels per acre, 1 bushel per acre less than in 2007. Grain production totaled 1,980,000 bushels, down 4 percent from a year earlier. Sorghum harvested as silage was 12,000 acres, the same as the 2007 acreage. Silage yields averaged 14 tons per acre, up 2 ton from 2007.

Hay production in 2008 totaled 1.58 million tons, 24 percent more than in 2007. Yields averaged 2.20 tons per acre from all cuttings, 0.3 tons more than 2007. Acreage harvested was 720,000 acres, up 50,000 acres from the previous year and was the highest acreage cut for hay since 1955.