Drought hammered crops in Georgia A continuing drought combined with extremely high temperatures took a toll on Georgia's 2000 row-crop acreage, according to the year's final tally from the state's agricultural statistics service.

The dry spring and summer of this past year caused higher-than-normal abandonment of some dryland crops. Weather conditions during the spring of 2000 also caused planting delays and poor seed germination. Hot, dry conditions continued throughout the growing season with brief periods of relief. Dry weather continued into the fall, which was beneficial for harvesting.

Cotton suffered Cotton suffered due to the dry weather, but not as much as early planted soybeans and dryland corn. Considering the dry summer, which affected much of the cotton growing region, yields were better than earlier thought.

The cotton yield per harvested acre is expected to average 583 pounds, down 11 pounds from earlier estimates but still four pounds per acre more than 1999's yield. Final harvested acreage is anticipated at 1.35 million acres, up 50,000 acres from earlier estimates and 50,000 acres more than was harvested in 1999.

If this harvested acreage projection holds true, 150,000 of the 1.5 million acres planted were abandoned. Harvested acreage in Georgia is the second largest in the United States, exceeded only by the 4.42 million acres in Texas. Georgia production for 2000 is expected to total 1.64 million bales, up five percent from the 1.57 million produced in 1999.

Georgia's corn crop for 2000 was much better than expected, with the average yield at 107 bushels per harvested acre. This yield is four bushels per acre more than in 1999. The dry spring limited planting, but some farmers benefited from scattered, timely rainfall.

Corn planted for all purposes totaled 400,000 acres or 50,000 acres more than in 1999. Acreage harvested for grain was unchanged from the previous year at 300,000 acres. Grain production was 32.1 million bushels, up four percent from 1999. Corn harvested for silage numbered 45,000 acres, that same as last year. Silage yields were 15 tons per acre compared with 13 tons per acre from last year. Corn abandoned or for other uses was 55,000 acres, reflecting the severe drought.

Peanut numbers Peanut production in Georgia also suffered from the hot, dry summer. Early September rains, however, proved beneficial to the crop. Dry weather during the fall months was excellent for harvest.

Production in 2000 was 1.34 billion pounds or four percent below 1999. The decrease in production was a result in a decrease in harvested acres. Planted acres, at 492,000, were down 10 percent. Harvested acres, at 487,000, also were down by 10 percent from 1999. Yields for 2000 averaged 2,750 pounds per acre compared with 2,575 pounds in 1999 and 2,815 pounds two years ago.

Soybean yields benefited from timely rainfall in September of this past year. Yields averaged 24 bushels per harvested acre, up five bushels per acre from last year. Acres planted to soybeans were 180,000, of which 160,000 acres were harvested. This was down 16 percent from the 190,000 acres harvested in 1999. Georgia's production rose to 3.84 million bushels in 2000, six percent more than 1999's production.

Tobacco production in 2000 increased 5.11 million pounds to 69.1 million pounds. Disease and insect pressures were less than in 1999. Production was eight percent above 1999. Yields averaged 2,230 pounds in 2000, compared with 1,940 pounds per acre in 1999. Acreage declined by 2,000 acres from 1999 to 31,000 acres.

Sorghum acres planted for all purposes was 55,000 acres or 5,000 acres more than in 1999. Harvested acres for grain also were the same as in 1999 at 30,000 acres. Yields averaged 45 bushels per acre, the same as in 1999. Grain production totaled 1.35 million bushels, also the same as one year earlier. Sorghum harvested as silage was unchanged from the previous year at 15,000 acres. Silage yields averaged nine tons per acre, down one ton from 1999.

Hay production in 2000 totaled 1.56 million tons, four percent more than in 1999. Yields averaged 2.4 tons per acre from all cuttings, down from the 2.5 tons in 1999. Acreage harvested was up eight percent to 650,000 acres.