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Southern crop yields are up, up and away


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Improved varieties are given much of the credit for record-breaking crop yields, but good management remains a key ingredient.

Four-hundred bushels of corn per acre in south Georgia, more than 100 bushels of soybeans per acre in Arkansas, 7,000-plus pounds of peanuts per acre throughout the Southern Peanut Belt, cotton topping 5 bales in the Mid-South …the list goes on.

Crop yields in the South are shattering records left and right, and the possibilities seem limitless. Much of the credit is going to improved varieties and rightfully so. Genetic improvements continue to occur at a dizzying pace, and producers are more than willing to test the mettle of these new hybrids in the most challenging situations.

Farmers in the lower Southeast got their first real taste of high yields on large scale during the 2012 growing season, when Georgia’s peanut crop smashed all records with an average yield of 4,550 pounds per acre.

Even this year, when it was feared that late planting and excessive rainfall might have a negative impact on overall yields, peanut producers in the state are expected to average just under 4,000 pounds per acre, quite an achievement when you consider how many fields were washed out by record-high rainfall amounts.

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