New report shows good signs for farmers
Corn harvest is underway in Alabama and statewide farmers are predicted to see record yields.
The USDA’s August Crop Production Report predicts Alabama farmers will average a record of 145 bushels an acre with an overall production increase of 40 percent over 2012.
High spring corn prices and regular crop rotations led many farmers to plant corn instead of other crops, according to Alabama Farmers Federation Wheat & Feed Grains, Soybean and Cotton Divisions Director Buddy Adamson.
“Along with more planted acres, the projected increase is due to good yields thanks to timely rains and favorable temperatures when corn needed it most,” Adamson said.
Alabama farmers planted an estimated 300,000 acres of corn this spring.
The USDA report projects a nine percent increase in soybean production and a 30 percent decrease in cotton production in Alabama compared to 2012. Adamson said cotton farmers are feeling the effects of too much rain.
“The ground stayed wet so long that much of the intended cotton acres could not be planted,” he said. “Too much rain has resulted in water-logged soils and shallow root systems. However, cotton crop prospects will likely improve with continued high temperatures and occasional showers during the next few weeks.”
Adamson said he expects farmers will start picking cotton about two to three weeks later than usual. Cotton harvest typically starts around mid-September in north Alabama.
The USDA report reflects lower peanut acreage in Alabama with a projected production decrease of 55 percent compared to last year. Farmers in the state planted 130,000 acres of peanuts in 2013, down 90,000 acres from 2012.
“The peanut crop in general is not in bad shape,” said Randy Griggs, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association.
“Last year was unusual because it was the highest acreage we had in years, and the yields were some of the highest in history. That created a surplus, which depressed demand for this year.”
This year’s peanut crop will still need around an inch of rain every 10 days to mature, he said. Peanut harvest typically starts in mid-September to early October.
Nationally, the USDA August Crop Production Report forecasts lower than expected corn and soybean yields per acre. However, the estimated 13.8 billion bushels of corn would still be record production.