What is in this article?:
- Georgia cotton crop on track to break yield records
- Finished with good weather
• Georgia cotton yields may break records this fall, but prices are down almost 50 cents a pound from their high in 2010.
Georgia farmers will wrap up their cotton harvest over the next few weeks, and it looks like it’s going to break records.
Plentiful rain at the right time bolstered the yields on the 50 percent of Georgia’s cotton fields that are un-irrigated, driving the state’s average per acre yield to a record high.
“The crop looks fantastic,” said Don Shurley, a cotton economics and marketing specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“We blew the previous year’s record out of the water. The USDA currently estimates Georgia’s cotton yields at 934 pounds per acre, and some people think we may hit four digits. I’m not so sure about that, but certainly we stand to hit record yield numbers.”
The previous record was set in 2009 with 902 pounds an acre. Last year’s per acre yield for Georgia was 791 pounds per acre.
Georgia farmers planted about 1.3 million acres of cotton this year — about 300,000 fewer than last year.
Many farmers switched a portion of their cotton acreage over to corn, soybeans and peanuts because those crops were projected to bring in higher prices this year.
Approximately half of Georgia’s cotton crop is irrigated. Those irrigated fields always produce well, but the un-irrigated fields are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
In 2011, a lack of rain during the spring significantly delayed planting and stand establishment in south and central Georgia. This stifled the yields on dryland fields in some cases, said Guy Collins, a UGA CAES cotton agronomist.