Full Throttle.

first_imgDue to the oversupply of corn over the past few years, farmersgot low prices for their crops. But corn prices have the potentialto strengthen this year, Lee said.More corn was sold than produced in the United States last year.This reduced the oversupply stock and strengthened prices. Leesaid the trend should continue this year.Farmers had above-average production last year and still soldmore corn than they could grow. If this year is just an averageyear, the U.S. should again sell more corn than is grown. Thiswould further reduce the oversupply stock and strengthen prices.Better Prices at Higher Cost “The growers are facing a little better price environmentthis year,” Lee said. “But they’re having to spend alittle bit more money on growing the crop.”Nitrogen is the main fertilizer used in producing Georgia’s $84million corn crop. The price of natural gas, which is used tomanufacture nitrogen, has increased. So nitrogen prices have risen,too, by as much as 12 cents per pound.The nitrogen price increase will add as much as $30 per acre tosome farmers’ costs, Lee said. Though corn prices look betterthan last year, farmers still face a narrow profit margin on thecrop.Nothing Without Water To grow corn, you’ve got to have water. “Whether it comesfrom the sky or irrigation,” Lee said, “you’ve got tohave it.”The impending drought will cause problems for corn farmers. Droughtconditions have hit southwest and east Georgia severely. In thesetwo regions, a farmer has little chance of producing profitableyields without irrigation. In many cases last year, farmers abandonedentire fields of dryland corn, Lee said.Most irrigation systems use diesel fuel, he said. The increasein diesel fuel cost will add additional overhead to corn farmers.Planting About the Same Heavy rains fell over most of the state the first week of March.Some areas received as much as 3 to 4 inches. This timely rainfell as most corn farmers where planting their crop.Farmers who grow corn like to go ahead and get the corn crop inthe ground and fertilized before it’s time to plant cotton andpeanuts, Lee said. Sometimes they plant a little too early. Cornthat was planted in late-February runs the risk of freeze damage.Low temperatures in Georgia hovered around freezing in the firstweek of March. Any damage to the emerging corn crop is yet tobe determined, Lee said.Despite the encouraging rains and prices, Lee said corn farmersthis year will plant about the same amount of land as last year,about 350,000 acres. Georgia farmers face another year of severe drought, and the pricesof many major commodities remain low. But the long rows aheadlook a little better for corn growers, says a University of Georgiaexpert.Recent rains have corn farmers “full throttle” puttingone of this year’s first row-crops into the ground, said DeweyLee, an Extension Service agronomist with UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences.Better Priceslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *