Georgia's corn growers averaged about 125 bushels per acre this past year, 9 bushels less than last year's record average yield of 134 bushels per acre. “Despite some of the usual summer production problems, including hot and dry conditions during the early production phase, growers still harvested respectful yields, particularly in east Georgia,” says University of Georgia Extension agronomist Dewey Lee.

Georgia producers harvested 280,000 of the original 330,000 that were planted, notes Lee. Overall, growers increased total production by about 19 percent over 2001 levels due to more harvested acres.

“Most agree yields would have been higher if not for a late Southern leaf blight and Southern leaf rust infection in the southwestern portion of the state,” said Lee at the recent Georgia Corn Short Course in Tifton. “Late-season rainfall helped the late-planted crop in south Georgia, but disease and insect pressure reduced much of the yield potential.”

Although growers in the mountain and limestone valley regions of Georgia did not have the disease and insect pressure of their south Georgia counterparts, they also didn't receive the timely rainfall that normally frequent the area, he says. Most growers, he adds, cite 2002 as one of the worst drought years yet for their farms.

Fewer entries were made in the 2002 Georgia Corn High Yield and Efficiency Program than in previous years, says Lee, indicating less interest in the crop and poor market conditions. There were 37 entries this past year compared to 38 and 59 in the previous two years, respectively.

The most efficient irrigated corn producer in Georgia in 2002 was Hulin Reeves, Jr., of Ben Hill County. He produced 252.3 bushels of Pioneer 31G98 at $1.44 per bushel. The most efficient dryland grower in the state was Ben Overstreet of Dawson County. He produced 178.6 bushels of Pioneer 31R88 at $1.73 per bushel.

The winning high-yield entry in the irrigated category was submitted by Grover Cobb/Harrison Farms of Jefferson County with 262.7 bushels per acre of Pioneer 32W86. Jerry Smith of Dawson County submitted the winning dryland entry with a yield of 193 bushels per acre of Southern States 842.

A complete listing of 2002 winners is shown below.

2002 Georgia State and Region

Irrigated Production

Name County Hybrid Yield
State Grover Cobb Jefferson Pioneer 31G98 262.7
Region 2 Hulin Reeves, Jr. Ben Hill Pioneer 31G98 252.3

Non-Irrigated Production

State Jerry Smith Dawson Southern States 842 193.04

Efficiency Winners
Non-Irrigated Production

Name County Hybrid Yield@Cost/Bushel
State Ben Overstreet Dawson Pioneer 31R88 178.6@$1.73

Irrigated Production

State Hulin Reeves, Jr. Ben Hill Pioneer 31G98 252.3@$1.44
Region 2 Kevin Cobb Jefferson Pioneer 31G98 255.6@$1.46