Farmers prepare for peanut harvest - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Farmers prepare for peanut harvest

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) -

Timing can be everything when it comes to rain and one of our region’s biggest crops: peanuts.

Local farmers have a short time to get them harvested when they're ready, and showers can make that job even tougher.

Some people might use these gray skies and gentle rain as an excuse to stay inside. But peanut farmers can almost hear a clock ticking to get these peanuts out of the field and to market.

The showers that started Thursday morning put a stop to Lee Crumley's work about a week into harvesting his 800 acres. He and the rest of Georgia's growers have more than one million tons of peanuts to pick.

According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, Georgia farmers plant 600,000 acres, yielding 4,100 pounds per acre. 

“Fifty percent of the peanuts consumed in this country come from Georgia. So what happens here in Georgia has a major impact,” said Crumley.

Georgia peanuts accounted for more than 20 percent of the state's agricultural income, according to the Georgia Peanut Commission. 

This rain comes at a tough time. Farmers will need three to four days of clear skies to dry things enough to dig plants from the ground and thrash away the leaves and stems. They have a narrow window to pick. If they start too soon, the peanuts aren't ready.

“If you wait a week too late, you leave a lot of peanuts in the ground. The timing for digging is critical,” said Crumley.

He and other Georgia farmers planted more acres this year, so they need every day they can get for harvest. He won't turn down the rain.

“It's good to have it. We just need it to move on through,” said Crumley.

The peanut industry contributes more than 50,000 jobs in Georgia, according to the Georgia Peanut Commission. 

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