The first yield forecast of 2002 for Georgia row crops indicates lower yields for most crops, with the exception being cotton, which is slightly improved from last year. Production is down for all crops from a year ago, with the exception of corn, according to the state's agricultural statistics service.
Temperatures during the 2002 growing season have been near normal, according to the statistics service. Generally, rainfall has been well below normal over most of Georgia. However, timely rains in the southern part of the state have benefited most crops.
Georgia's corn yield for 2002 is expected to average 130 bushels per acre or 4 bushels below last year's record yield of 134 bushels per acre. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record. Temperatures and timely rainfall resulted in excellent corn crops for most growers.
Total corn production is expected to total 36.4 million bushels from 280,000 acres harvested for grain. A production of this size would be 23 percent more than last year. The corn for grain harvest was off to a fast start, with 16 percent harvested by Aug. 4 compared with the five-year average of 11 percent.
Georgia's 2002 cotton crop is forecast to average 738 pounds of lint per harvested acre or 18 pounds per acre more than in 2001. If realized, this yield will be the highest since 1996. Cotton has benefited from good growing conditions this summer.
As of Aug. 4, only 13 percent of the state's cotton crop was rated very poor or poor while 35 percent was fair and 52 percent was rated good to excellent. Acreage expected to be harvested this fall is estimated at 1,430,000 acres, down 50,000 acres from 2001. Production is estimated at 2.2 million bales, 1 percent below last year's 2.22 million bales.
Peanut production in Georgia for 2002 is forecast at 1.64 billion pounds. This compares to last year's 1.71 billion pounds. Harvested acres are expected to be 548,000 compared with 514,000 in 2001. Yields across the Georgia peanut belt are expected to average 3,000 pounds per acre compared with the near record last year of 3,330 pounds.
This year's peanut crop has benefited from weather conditions, but most growers have had to spray more for disease control in 2002. As of Aug. 4, Georgia's peanut crop was rated 13 percent excellent, 46 percent good, 31 percent fair and only 10 percent poor.
Soybean yields in Georgia for 2002 are forecast at 26 bushels per harvested acre, down 1 bushel from last year. If this early season forecast is realized, production will total 3.77 million bushels or 10 percent less than in 2001.
Planted acres are set at 160,000 acres while harvested acres are estimated to be 145,000 acres. Final soybean yield and production will depend heavily on September weather conditions.
Tobacco yields for 2002 are expected to average 1,950 pounds per acre or 510 pounds less than last year's near-record yield of 2,460 pounds per acre. This year's crop has been plagued with disease problems. At the end of July, most of the crop was rated in poor to fair condition. Acreage harvested is expected to be 28,000 acres or 1,900 acres above last year. This puts potential production at 54.6 million pounds for 2002 or 15 percent less than last year.
Hay production in Georgia is expected to total 1.80 million tons, down 8 percent from last year. Potential yields are forecast at 3 tons per acre, the same as in 2001. Acreage cut for hay totals 600,000 acres compared with 650,000 acres last year.