2001-2002 Small Grain Performance Tests
The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The University of Georgia
Research Report Number 682
July 2002

The Season

For the fourth consecutive fall Georgia small grain producers of grain and forage were faced with planting into hot dry soils. More than half of the small grain planted was delayed until after Thanksgiving; further, some earlier planted fields were replanted this late in the season. Wheat acreage planted was estimated at 350,000 acres, an increase of 15% over the previous year. Oat acreage was 85,000 acres, 15% less than last season. Acres planted to rye were 17% less than last year and totaled 250,000 acres.

Rainfall amounts recorded monthly at the six test locations during the 2001-2002 growing season are presented in the following table. Lack of adequate rainfall occurred during most of the small grain growing season. All five test sites in Georgia along with the Florida panhandle site at Marianna received less than normal precipitation during the reporting period. The total deficits average about 14 inches for the nine months or 40% less.

2001-2002 Rainfall1
Month Year Calhoun2 Griffin Midville Plains Tifton Marianna, FL3
------------------------------------------ inches ------------------------------------------
October 2001 1.52 0.52 0.25 0.12 2.49 1.51
November 2001 2.32 1.29 1.22 2.21 0.80 1.70
December 2001 2.82 1.59 0.69 1.99 0.72 0.78
January 2002 5.36 3.54 3.01 2.43 3.22 3.82
February 2002 1.81 2.12 2.33 2.62 1.65 2.44
March 2002 6.68 5.19 5.00 5.03 5.16 5.51
April 2002 0.99 3.07 1.61 2.44 2.62 5.78
May 2002 4.82 3.33 1.49 1.09 0.78 2.19
June 2002 1.66 3.56 2.32 2.64 0.60 3.45
Total (9 months) 27.98 24.21 17.92 20.57 18.04 27.18
Normal (9 months) 41.90 37.68 32.11 36.27 32.51 38.51
1. Data for Georgia sites collected by Dr. G. Hoogenboom, Georgia Station, Griffin, GA.
2. Floyd County location.
3. University of Florida North Florida Research and Education Center location.

The 2001-2002 small grains growing season in Georgia was characterized by mild weather and dry conditions during the winter and spring. Lack of vernalization was a problem especially for late maturing varieties. The mild winter along with a dry spring hastened maturity and stimulated a buildup of several insect populations,

The small grain crop looked very good until a late winter hard freeze occurred on February 28th when the temperature dropped to 14 degrees at Griffin. The cold snap continued the following six nights with lows at 23, 37, 26, 20, 19, and 28 degrees, respectively, over the central part of the state. Another cold snap occurred on March 22nd and 23rd (27 and 25 degrees, respectively) in Griffin.

The condition of the small grains crop after the low temperatures was much worse than anticipated. Dry conditions during April and May hastened the harvest of the cold damaged crop. Yield and especially test weight of all small grains were much lower than in many years. Stalk lodging of the small grain crops was much higher than normal. The 180,000 acres of wheat harvested produced only 75% as much as last year with quality well below average. Oats harvested for grain decreased 25% from last year, while rye harvested for grain increased 18% but per acre yield and quality were problems.

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