ALABAMA FARMERS TO PLANT MORE PEANUTS, COTTON BUT FEWER SOYBEANS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama farmers expect to plant more acres of peanuts and cotton this year but fewer acres of soybeans and corn, according to a recent survey conducted by the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service.
Peanut acreage is forecast at 215,000 acres, up 8 percent from 2004 and 11 percent more than the five-year average. Producers also said they expect to plant more cotton with total acreage statewide estimated at 560,000 acres. That's a 2 percent increase from a year ago but down 2 percent from the five-year average.
Meanwhile, the threat of Asian soybean rust has caused farmers to reduce their soybean acreage this year. According to the survey, Alabama's soybean acreage will drop to 160,000 acres, down 24 percent from 2004 and 9 percent below the five-year average. Corn plantings also are expected to be down slightly to 215,000 acres. That's 2 percent below 2004 but 2 percent above the five-year average. Wheat acreage was unchanged this year at 120,000 acres.
Farmers indicated they would plant 5,000 acres of grain sorghum this year, about half of what they planted in 2004. Hay acreage is expected to top 865,000 acres, up 2 percent from a year ago, while sweet potato farmers say they will plant 2,700 acres, down 100 acres.
"Actual plantings for the 2005 crop year may vary from these March 1 intentions," said State Statistician, Herb Vanderberry. "Effects of weather during the planting season, availability and cost of production inputs and market prices are all factors in determining which crops and how much acreage Alabama farmers will actually plant."
The Statistics Service will conduct another survey around June 1 to determine the acreage actually planted to each crop.