Small grain plantings for 2002 got off to a slow start due to dry fall weather, with growers taking advantage of a few scattered showers to get their crop planted.

Despite a drier-than-normal winter, crop conditions during the winter months were fair to good. The crop suffered freeze damage in early March which turned out to be more damaging than originally thought. The crop also was affected by disease and insect pressure. Weather conditions during the harvest were good.

All wheat planted in Georgia for the 2002 crop was 350,000 acres or 50,000 acres more than in 2001. The drier-than-normal fall allowed growers to plant their intended acreage. Wheat harvested for grain was 200,000 acres, the same as last year. Wheat yields were set at 41 bushels per acre, which is 12 bushels per acre lower than a year ago. Production totaled 8.2 million bushels, 23 percent less than 2001.

Oats planted for the 2002 crop showed a decrease of 10,000 acres from a year earlier to 90,000 acres. Oats harvested for grain was at 25,000 acres, 10,000 acres less than in 2001. The yield for oats averaged 60 bushels per acre, 5 bushels per acre less than last year. Production totaled 1.50 million bushels, down 34 percent from last year's 2.28 million bushels.

Georgia's acreage planted to rye, at 260,000 acres, was 13 percent less than was planted in 2001. Most of the rye in Georgia is used for winter grazing and a winter cover crop. However, 45,000 acres were kept to maturity and harvested for grain and seed. This acreage is 10,000 more than in 2001. Yields averaged 16 bushels per acre or 9 bushels per acre less than 2001. Production was down 18 percent from a year ago at 720,000 bushels.

All wheat production in the United States totaled 1.62 billion bushels in 2002, down 4 percent from earlier forecasts and 17 percent below 2001. This is the lowest production since 1972. Grain area is 46. million acres, down 5 percent from last year and the smallest area harvested since 1970.

The U.S. yield is 35.3 bushels per acre, down 4.9 bushels from a year ago. Levels of production and change from last year by type are: winter wheat, 1.14 billion bushels, down 16 percent; other spring wheat, 402 million bushels, down 22 percent; and Durum wheat, 80.2 million bushels, down 4 percent.

U.S. oat production is estimated at 119 million bushels, 16 percent below the earlier forecast but 2 percent above last year's record-low 117 million bushels. The estimated yield is 56.8 bushels per acre, 4.6 bushels below 2001. Area for harvest is estimated at 2.10 million acres, 20 percent below earlier estimates but up 10 percent from a year ago. Compared with the August 1 estimate, acres harvested for grain dropped 150,000 in South Dakota and 140,000 in North Dakota. Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Wisconsin had smaller but significant reductions from August.

Rye production for 2002 is estimated at 6.99 million bushels, up slightly from last year's record low. This is the second lowest production on record. Harvested area totaled 286,000 acres, 12 percent above 2001. The U.S. yield, at 24.4 bushels per acre, is down 2.9 bushels from last year.