For Alabama, cotton is high, but drought still hurt

The Alabama Farmers Federation recently reported that 2016 yielded some good news and some bad news for the state.

On the plus side, estimates suggest cotton production could hit all-time highs. On the negative side, drought pushed corn and soybean yields below the five-year average.

Alabama Extension economist Max Runge said the estimates suggest a record cotton yield of 987 pounds per acre.
“How you weathered the year depended on where you were," Runge said. “Corn growers in northern areas of the state really suffered from drought, but in parts of south Alabama, some growers had reasonable yields.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it appears that Alabama corn production increased 5 percent, but only because of increased acreage. In actuality, drought caused corn production dropped to an average 120 bushels per acre, down from 147 the year before. Corn prices also fell because of larger U.S. and world grain stocks.

According to the USDA, Alabama soybean production also was down 35 percent from 2015.

Runge said 2017 might not be much better.

“Most farmers plant fall cover crops, whether to reduce erosion, add organic matter or double crop small grains,” he said. But drought either kept a lot of farmers from planting the crops or hurt germination and stand development.

“It probably means less small grains harvested this year,” Runge said.

Organizations in this Story

Alabama Farmers Federation

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