The year's first planting intentions report shows that Georgia farmers are planning increases in their corn, tobacco and wheat acreage in 2003, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service. Meanwhile, GASS indications are that peanuts, cotton, sorghum and oats will show a slight decrease from last year.
Alabama's farmers plan to increase their corn acreage for 2003 while decreasing their cotton, peanut and soybean acreage.
Georgia's cotton acreage this year is expected to be 1.4 million acres or 50,000 acres below the 2002 levels. Even with current supply and demand issues, the state's growers are saying that cotton still is one of their better alternatives.
Georgia's corn plantings for 2003 are expected to total 370,000 acres, according to growers' intentions in March. This would be an increase of 9 percent from last year. Some corn plantings in the southern region of the state were delayed due to wet weather conditions.
Soybean acreage in Georgia is expected to decrease to 155,000 acres in 2003. This would be a decrease of 5,000 acres or 3 percent below 2002. Provided these early plans materialize, soybean plantings in Georgia will be at their lowest since 1963.
Tobacco growers are planning an increase in acreage from last year, as many producers failed to reach their quotas in 2002. Acreage for 2003 is expected to total 29,000 acres compared with 26,500 acres in 2002. Transplanting was just getting under way in late March.
Sorghum planting in Georgia for 2003 is expected to total 45,000 acres — 10,000 acres less than in 2002. If these acreage plans are realized, this would be the lowest sorghum acreage since 1969.
Wheat seeding for 2003 totaled 380,000 acres, up 30,000 acres from 2002 and 80,000 acres more than in 2001. The cooler-than-normal winter months have slowed plant growth in most areas of Georgia.
Oats planted totaled 80,000 acres for 2003, down 11 percent from the 90,000 acres planted in 2002. Oat acreage still remains strong as growers look for alternatives to the higher costs of other small grains. Oats expected to be harvested for grain totaled 20,000 acres, down 20 percent from 2002.
Hay acreage expected to be harvested for 2003 is forecast at 630,000 acres, down 20,000 acres from last year.
Alabama's corn producers intend to plant 220,000 acres of corn this year. This is an increase of 10 percent or 20,000 acres over the 2003 crop.
Cotton plantings are estimated at 580,000 acres. If realized, this acreage would be 10,000 acres or 2 percent less than last year. However, it's still 10,000 acres more than the five-year average.
Alabama growers' interest in soybeans continues to wane, with acreage intentions for the 2003 crop set at 150,000 acres. This compares to 170,000 acres last year and the five-year average of 216,000 acres. Soybean growers indicated that about 70 percent of this year's acreage will be planted in genetically modified seed varieties.
Alabama peanut producers plan to plant 180,000 acres in 2003, the lowest acreage since 1982 when 179,000 acres were planted. This 2003 estimate is 10,000 acres or 5 percent below 2002 and 17,000 acres or 9 percent below the five-year average.
Acreage seeded to wheat is estimated at 120,000 acres. This is 20 percent below the 2002 acreage and 17 percent less than the five-year average.
Acreage expected to be cut for hay this year is up 3 percent to 820,000 acres compared to 800,000 acres last year. Sorghum — with an expected planting of 12,000 acres, will increase 20 percent from 10,000 acres in 2002.