Drought during the heart of the growing season coupled with excessive rainfall at harvest resulted in lower yields for all major row-crops produced in Georgia during 2002, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.
Rainfall was very scattered throughout the summer months, as most areas of Georgia still were under drought conditions. Weather patterns began to change in the fall as El Nino approached.
Georgia was hit by two tropical storms in September, which benefited surface and groundwater supplies, but delayed cotton and peanut harvest. Wet weather conditions at harvest also damaged the quality of the state's cotton and peanut crops.
Georgia's cotton crop suffered from below-normal rainfall during the summer. Yield per harvested acre is expected to average 582 pounds per acre or 138 pounds less than last year. Rainfall during the fall delayed harvest, and the crop also suffered from a loss in quality.
Planted cotton acreage was set at 1.45 million acres while harvested acres were adjusted to 1.36 million acres. This is 70,000 acres less than earlier estimates and 120,000 acres less than last year. Georgia's production in 2002 is expected to total 1.65 million bales (480 pounds), down 26 percent from the 2.22 million produced in 2001.
Georgia's corn crop for 2002 also suffered from the summer's dry weather, but the majority of the crop is irrigated. Yield was at 115 bushels per harvested acre, the second highest yield on record. This yield was 10 bushels per acre less than earlier estimates and 19 bushels less than last year's record yield of 134 bushels per acre.
Corn planted for all purposes was 340,000 acres, 75,000 acres more than in 2001. Acreage harvested for grain was at 290,000 acres, 70,000 acres more than last year. Grain production was 33.4 million bushels, up 13 percent from 2001.
Corn harvested for silage numbered 40,000 acres, the same as last year. Silage yields were 16 tons per acre compared with 18 tons per acre last year. Corn that was abandoned or for other uses was 10,000 acres.
Peanut production in Georgia suffered through the dry summer and then through wet harvesting conditions in the fall. Production in 2002 was 1.31 billion pounds (656,500 tons), down 23 percent from 2001. The decrease in production was a result of a decrease in harvested acres and lower yields.
Planted acres, at 510,000, was down 1 percent and harvested acres, at 505,000, was down 2 percent from 2001. Yields for 2002 averaged 2,600 pounds per acre compared with 3,330 pounds in 2001.
Soybean yields also were hurt by drought conditions during the summer. Yields averaged 21 bushels per harvested acre, down 5 bushels per acre from last year. Acres planted to soybeans were 160,000, of which 140,000 acres were harvested. This was down 10 percent from the 155,000 acres harvested in 2001. Georgia's production fell to 2.94 million bushels in 2002, 27 percent less than the 2001 production.
Tobacco production in 2002 decreased 8.56 million pounds from 2001, to 55.7 million pounds. This represents a 13-percent reduction from last year's 64.2 million pounds. Disease, specifically tomato spotted wilt virus, took a toll on this year's crop. Yields averaged 2,100 pounds in 2002, compared to 2,460 pounds per acre in 2001. Acreage increased 400 acres from last year to 26,500 acres in 2002.
Sorghum acres planted for all purposes was 55,000 acres, 5,000 acres more than in 2001. Harvested acres for grain was 30,000, up 5,000 acres from last year. Yields averaged 43 bushels per acre, five bushels per acre less than in 2001.
Grain production totaled 1.29 million bushels, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Sorghum harvested as silage was 20,000 acres, the same as last year. Silage yields averaged 13 tons per acre, up 3 tons from 2001.
Hay production in 2002 totaled 1.69 million tons, 13 percent less than in 2001. Yields averaged 2.60 tons per acre from all cuttings, down from the 3 tons in 2001. Acreage harvested was the same as last year at 650,000.