The initial forecast of Georgia's wheat crop for 2005 shows production significantly up from 2004, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service.

A sample of producers contacted around May 1 indicates production will total 12.7 million bushels, 48 percent above 2004's output.

State Director Dave Abbe stated, “Increased acreage and good growing conditions during the winter and spring caused the increase in production. Mid-April is the critical time in the crop's development, as this is the time the heads fill.”

Of the 350,000 acres planted, 230,000 acres are expected to be harvested for grain.

Results from the May yield survey indicate that yields for 2005 are expected to average 55 bushels per acre. If realized, this would be the highest yield on record and would surpass the previous record of 54 bushels per acre set in the year 2000. The yield last year was 45 bushels per acre.

Disease problems have been at a minimum. Similarly, no major problems have been caused by insects. County Extension agents rated the crop mostly good as of May 8, with 94 percent of the crop heading, which is slightly behind normal.