The first forecast of Georgia's row crops indicates all yields are up from last year except for peanuts, which shows a slight decline. Production of cotton, corn, and tobacco are down, while peanuts and soybeans are up.
Temperatures during the growing season have averaged above normal. Most areas of the state have suffered through drought conditions during the summer, although showers were on the increase during July. This trend continued into early August.
Irrigation has been very active this year. This early forecast is based on a survey of growers and field measurements for cotton around Aug. 1. Forecasted yields could change based on precipitation, disease, insect pressures and harvest weather in the coming weeks.
Georgia's 2008 cotton crop is forecast to average 809 pounds of lint per harvested acre, 8 pounds per acre more than last years yield of 801 pounds per acre. Cotton has also suffered from the dry summer.
As of Aug. 10, 10 percent was rated very poor or poor, while 38 percent was fair and 52 percent was rated good to excellent. Acreage expected to be harvested this fall is estimated at 890,000 acres, down 105,000 acres from last year. Production is estimated at 1,500,000 bales, 10 percent less than last year’s 1,660,000 bales.
Corn yield for 2008 is expected to average 140 bushels per harvested acre, 10 bushels more than last year’s yield of 130 bushels per acre. If this yield is realized it will be a state record.
Above normal summer time temperatures and drought conditions have taken its toll on the dryland corn crop. Georgia’s total corn production is expected to total 44.8 million bushels from 320,000 acres harvested for grain. Production of this size would be 23 percent less than last year. The dry spring caused planting progress to be much slower than normal. Corn harvesting is just getting under way.
Peanut production in Georgia is forecast at 1.98 billion pounds, compared with last year’s 1.64 billion pounds. Harvested acres are expected to be 640,000 compared with 520,000 in 2007.
Yields across Georgia’s peanut belt are expected to average 3,100 pounds per acre compared with 3,150 pounds last year. Producers have been very active in irrigating their crop. Growers were spraying for disease prevention.
As of Aug. 10, the crop was rated 11 percent excellent, 47 percent good, 33 percent fair and 9 percent poor to very poor.
Soybean yields in Georgia are forecast to average 30 bushels per harvested acre. The dry weather and heat have caused problems for the crop, but recent July showers in some areas have aided the crop. Production is forecast at 12.2 million bushels, up from the 8.25 million bushels last year.
Harvested acres are estimated to be 405,000 acres. This compares to 275,000 acres harvested in 2007. Final soybean yield and production will depend heavily on August and September weather conditions.
Tobacco yields for 2008 are expected to average 2,450 pounds per acre, 300 pounds more than last year’s yield of 2,150 pounds per acre. Tomato spotted wilt virus has not been as bad as in recent years. As of Aug. 10, the crop was rated 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 48 percent good and 19 percent excellent.
Acreage harvested is expected to be 16,000 acres, 2,500 acres less than last year. This puts potential production at 39.2 million pounds for the year 2008, 1 percent less than in 2007.
Hay production is expected to total 1.47 million tons, 22 percent more than last year. Potential yields are forecast at 2.10 tons per acre, compared with 1.80 tons in 2007. Conditions did improve some in July. Acreage cut for hay totals 700,000 acres, up 30,000 acres from last year.