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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee farmers will harvest 5.5 percent more acres of row crops than they did last year, a University of Tennessee agricultural economist said Monday.

Dr. Charles Farmer of UT’s Agricultural Extension Service said growers will harvest more acres of soybeans, tobacco, corn and wheat and fewer acres of cotton.

Farmers planted about 500,000 acres of cotton in Tennessee this year, down nearly 25 percent from the acreage harvested a year ago, Farmer said.

Cotton producers suffered from poor growing conditions and insects last year, Farmer said.

Acreage was shifted this year from cotton because of early indications farmers would receive better prices for soybeans and corn, he said.

Soybean acreage to be harvested increased 6.5 percent to 1.15 million acres this year, reflecting favorable prices and improvements in varieties and chemical technology, Farmer said. The improvements have pushed yields higher and boosted potential profitability, he said.

Tennessee has more acres planted in corn than for any year since the mid-1980s. Farmers grew 680,000 acres of corn for grain this year, a 26 percent increase over a year ago, Farmer said.

Tobacco acreage is up about 10 percent this year.

The wheat crop this year was 430,000 acres, a 26 percent increase over a year ago. Wheat experienced some tough weather problems during the winter, but late spring weather was favorable, Farmer said.

The soybean crop “appears to be in the lead” as Tennessee’s leading cash crop this year and will bring nearly $270 million, Farmer projected. The soybean crop hasn’t been the leader since 1989. Cotton led in 1995.

Tobacco will bring about $220 million and be the state’s second-leading cash crop, followed by a $215 million cotton crop, Farmer predicted.

Contact: Dr. Charles Farmer (423-974-7271)