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doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com

Suffolk isn’t the king of cotton in Virginia.

But it is second in line to the throne to neighboring Southampton County, based on figures recently released in the Virginia Agricultural Statistics Bulletin Resource and Directory 2004.

Suffolk planted 14,100 acres of cotton that year and harvested 34,060 bales. The yield-per-acre was 1,159 pounds.

That year, our neighbors to the west planted 30,100 acres and produced 63,075 bales. The per-acre-yield was 1,006 pounds.

When it comes to cotton, Suffolk traditionally follows in the heels of the more rural counties in southeastern Virginia, said Rex Cotton, the city’s extension agent. Nonetheless, the city has always been among the state’s top producers of cotton, he added.

This year, Suffolk farmers have planted approximately 15,000 acres of cotton. Production is up slightly because of the decline in peanut acreage, Cotton added.

As harvesting wraps up on this year’s cotton crop, Cotton is projecting farmers will see another banner year.

“It’s been a pretty good year here,” Cotton said. “For the most part, Suffolk has fared relatively well in terms of cotton production this year.”

The only problems have been a couple of dry pockets in the Holy Neck area of the city, he added.

Neighboring Isle of Wight County took third place in 2004, with 15,400 acres planted, 27,000 bales produced and 842 pounds-per-acre.

Fourth place goes to Greensville County. They planted cotton on 7,800 acres, which produced 810 pound per acre and a harvest 13,165 bales.

Rounding out the top five was Sussex County, with 5,100 acres planted and 9,985 bales harvested. That was equivalent to 940 pounds per acre.

Suffolk also did quite well in its peanut production for that time period, placing second in the state behind Southampton County, with 6,000 acres planted, 2,900 pounds per acre and 17.4 million pounds harvested.

Other areas noted for Suffolk, and the total production, were:

*Soybeans (bushels), 10th, 702,000;

*Wheat for grain (bushels), 12th, 306,800;

*Corn for grain (bushels), 15th, 1.23 million;

*Flue-cured tobacco (pounds), 21st, 80,000;

*Corn for silage (tons), 54th, 8,500.

Suffolk, according to 2002 census data, had 247 farms, with 70,592 acres in farming and 53,954 acres of harvested cropland.

Staff writer Allison T. Williams contributed to this story.