The initial forecast of Georgia's wheat crop for 2007 shows production significantly up from 2006, according to the USDA, NASS, Georgia Field Office.

A sample of producers contacted around May 1 indicates production will total 10 million bushels, 70 percent more than 2006's output. State Director Doug Kleweno stated, "The reason for the significant increase in production is the large increase in harvested acres."

"The Easter freeze and drought have come at a critical time in the crops development and will impact yield," added Kleweno. Of the 400,000 acres planted, 250,000 acres are expected to be harvested for grain.

Results from the May Yield Survey indicate yields for 2007 are expected to average 40 bushels per acre. If realized, this would be down 9 bushels from last year and the lowest since 1995. Last year's yield of 49 bushels per acre is the fifth highest on record.

The dry winter and spring combined with the Easter freeze lowered the yield prospects. Disease problems have been at a minimum. Similarly, no major problems have been caused by insects.

County Extension Agents rated the crop poor to good as of May 7, with 96 percent of the crop heading, which is near normal.

Meanwhile, U.S. winter wheat production is forecast at 1.62 billion bushels, up 24 percent from 2006. Area harvested for grain totals 37.2 million acres, up 19 percent from last year.

Based on May 1 conditions, the U.S. yield is forecast at 43.5 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from the previous year.