The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The University of Georgia

Research Report Number 658
February 1999


1998 FIELD CROPS PERFORMANCE TESTS


J. LaDon Day, Paul L. Raymer, Anton E. Coy, Shelby H. Baker
William D. Branch, and Stevan S. LaHue, Editors


The Season


    Rainfall amounts for the 1998 growing season at each of the test locations are presented in the table below. Four of the six locations reported below normal rainfall amounts for the eight month period. Distribution of Rainfall was a problem and the most severe shortages occurred in the northern part of the state.

1998 Rainfall1

Month Athens2 Calhoun3 Griffin Midville Plains Tifton

     ----------------------------------------------- inches ---------------------------------------------------
 
March 4.39 5.54 4.95 7.04 7.32 8.06
April 8.46 8.91 7.59 6.83 9.16 3.52
May 3.50 2.85 2.30 2.90 4.31 2.44
June 2.08 2.51 2.57 1.89 1.69 1.20
July 0.74 2.90 3.39 1.84 3.50 4.75
August 2.92 2.45 4.94 4.22 2.03 2.04
September 3.33 0.97 2.92 5.70 10.84 9.32
October 1.36 2.47 0.45 1.14 0.22 0.03
 
Total 26.78 28.60 29.11 31.56 39.07 31.36
 
Normal (8 mo) 32.26 35.00 33.26 31.17 31.99 32.72

1.   Data provided in part by Dr. G. Hoogenboom, Georgia Station, Griffin, GA.
2.   Plant Sciences Farm.
3.   Floyd County location.

    A record cold and extremely wet March and April delayed corn planting, tobacco transplanting, and land preparation. Field conditions improved by early May and most crops were planted on time. Georgia farmers reduced planted acres of all row crops in 1998 except peanuts which increased 3%. Soybean acres decreased 30%, sorghum down 23%, cotton down 3%, and tobacco decreased 2%.

    Overall, the 1998 growing season was extremely difficult and the worst in quite a while. Prolonged extremely high temperatures and moisture stress caused production problems throughout the growing season. Two hurricanes that came into Georgia, Earl in early September and Georges in late September, brought some relief for soybean growers in south Georgia but caused problem for cotton areas in southwest Georgia. Timely harvest was helped by a dry October and November.

    Peanut yields increased slightly over 1997 with production up 4% during 1998. Cotton yields declined 11% during 1997 and were down another 20% during 1998 producing 27% less bales. Total production for soybean, sorghum, and tobacco declined 33%, 31%, and 1%, respectively, from their 1997 levels.