Peanut growers optimistic for 2013 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Peanut growers optimistic for 2013


Last spring peanut growers across the state planted what would become the largest peanut crop in state history.

But will last year's surplus, or last month's heavy rain, keep farmers from planting as many peanuts this year?

This Thomas County field may just look like dirt today, but in about a month, thousands of peanuts will be waiting to grow.

"Overall Georgia will decrease its peanut acreage. Last year we planted around 730,000 so we'll probably see about a 30 percent reduction in peanut acreage planted this year," said Thomas County Extension Agent Andrew Sawyer.

Ideal growing conditions allowed for the record yields not only in Georgia, but throughout the country.

"Other states just like us broke yields too, yield records too. And other states in places that normally don't plant peanuts did plant peanuts also. So we had an overall increase in acreage," said Sawyer.

But as the surplus carried over to this year, growers were worried they would only plant about 400,000 acres this year.

That was until China jumped on board as a buyer.

"That would be to get the peanut supply into a normal range. Now that China has started purchasing a significant amount of Georgia farm stocked peanuts, it looks like Georgia can plant about 500,000 acres in 2013," said Sawyer.

The biggest issue for growers right now is when they will be able to start planting.

February was an unusually wet and cold month resulting in lower soil temperatures.

"The reason that's significant is because we are going to need some really warm days to raise these soil temperatures. The soil temperatures in the month of February have gone down with that temperature," said Sawyer.

Ag experts say it is important not to plant when a cold front is planning to pass through, even if the soil temperature is in the upper 60's or low 70's

Growers say they are currently shooting for April 15th as the start date for peanut planting.



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