The first yield forecast of 2005 for Georgia's row crops indicates that some yields are down and some yields are up from last year’s numbers.

Temperatures during the growing season have averaged near normal except for in the latter part of July when temperatures were above normal. Most areas of Georgia have experienced rainfall well above normal during the 2005 growing season, and this trend continued into early August.

Corn yield for 2005 is expected to average 129 bushels per harvested acre, just 1 bushel less than last year's yield of 130 bushels per acre. If this yield is realized, it will be the third highest on record. Near normal summer temperatures and plentiful rains have provided growers with a good crop.

Georgia's total corn production is expected to be 28.4 million bushels from 220,000 acres harvested for grain. Production of this size would be 22 percent less than last year. Wet weather in the spring delayed planting. As of Aug. 7, only 2 percent of the crop had been harvested compared with the five-year average of 14 percent.

Georgia's 2005 cotton crop is forecast to average 746 pounds of lint per harvested acre or 72 pounds per acre more than in 2004. Cotton has also benefited from the mid-summer rains. As of Aug. 7, only 4 percent was rated very poor or poor while 22 percent was fair and 74 percent was rated good to excellent. Acreage expected to be harvested this fall is estimated at 1,190,000 acres, down 90,000 acres from last year. Production is estimated at 1,850,000 bales or 3 percent more than last year's 1,800,000 bales.

Peanut production in Georgia is forecast at 2.39 billion pounds compared with last year's 1.83 billion pounds. If this production forecast is realized, it will be the highest on record. Harvested acres are expected to be 770,000 compared with 610,000 in 2004. The harvested acres are the highest since 1991.

Yields across Georgia's peanut belt are expected to average 3,100 pounds per acre compared with 3,000 pounds last year. The crop also has benefited from the summer weather conditions. Growers have been spraying regularly for disease prevention. As of Aug. 7, the crop was rated 20 percent excellent, 59 percent good, 16 percent fair, and only 5 percent poor to very poor.

Soybean yields in Georgia are forecast at 33 bushels per harvested acre. If this yield is realized, it will tie the highest on record, which was in 2003. The crop has benefited from plentiful rainfall during the summer months.

Soybean production in Georgia is forecast at 6.27 million bushels, down from the 8.37 million bushels last year. Planted acres are set at 200,000 acres, while harvested acres are estimated to be 190,000 acres. This compares to 280,000 acres planted and 270,000 acres harvested in 2004. Final soybean yield and production will depend heavily on August and September weather conditions.

Tobacco yields for 2005 are expected to average 1,900 pounds per acre, 130 pounds less than last year's yield of 2,030 pounds per acre. This year's crop has been in only fair condition and plagued with the disease problems and, in some cases, too much water. As of Aug. 7, the crop was rated 24 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 17 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Acreage harvested is expected to be 16,000 acres, 7,000 acres below last year. This puts potential production at 30.4 million pounds for the year 2005, 35 percent less than in 2004. This would be the lowest production since 1932.

Hay production is expected to total 1.89 million tons, 16 percent more than last year. Potential yields are forecast at 2.90 tons per acre, compared to 2.70 tons in 2004. Up to this point, it has been a good crop, but harvesting has been difficult due to wet conditions. Acreage cut for hay totals 650,000 acres, compared with 600,000 acres last year.

e-mail: phollis@primediabusiness.com