For the first time since 1937, North Carolina cotton farmers will plant more than one million acres. Cotton acreage in North Carolina is estimated at 50,000 over the million mark.

The Tar Heel state will see its fifth consecutive year of increased cotton plantings, according to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Ag Statistics Division. If weather permits, the state is in store for another new production record.

Other crops, however, are either down markedly or even with 2000-year levels.

Corn acreage continues a slide for the fifth straight year. Corn plantings will drop to the lowest on record to 710,000 acres, down 20,000 acres from the previous year.

Soybean plantings are expected to drop to 1.35 million acres, a decrease of 50,000 acres from a year ago. Because soybeans have a longer planting window, farmers may shift acres to soybeans if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Despite a marginally higher flue-cured tobacco quota, North Carolina producers intend to grow 163,000 acres in 2001, the same acreage as the previous year.

Burley producers are expected to harvest 6,400 acres, down 14 percent from a year ago. Basic quota increased 34 percent for burley producers this season, but they've had to battle blue mold and adverse weather for the past several years, causing growers to plant fewer acres.

Peanut farmers in North Carolina intend on planting 123,000 acres, the same as 2000.

Sweet potato producers intend on planting 38,000 acres, the same as last year.

Wheat plantings are at 680,000 acres, down 40,000 from the previous year.


e-mail: cecil_yancy@intertec.com