Peanut crop could be bumper

Published 11:49 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

Forecasts show conditions are ideal for peanut production.

“We have had good weather so far for peanut production,” said Auburn University Agronomist Brandon Dillard. “Even though the frequent rains usually bring more disease pressure, a combination of new varieties and better fungicide chemistries have held diseases in check so far.”

Dillard said there have not been many days with temps above 95 degrees.

“Humidity has been high, which makes it seem much hotter, but most of July we were in the high 80s or low 90s,” he said. “This is ideal for peanut production.”

Dillard said some areas have been really wet, while some areas have been a little dry at times but overall, the area has had good moisture up to this point.

“Depending on the planting date, August and September are very important,” Dillard said. “A lot of this area’s peanuts are planted the first two weeks of May. Peak water demand – 2 inches per week – would be mid-July to end of August. Peanuts planted at the end of May would need the most rain from first of August to middle of September.”

Dillard said that means a good August is very important for the peanut crop.

“We are in good shape going into August, and the forecast looks favorable,” he said. “With an August that has average temps and average or above average rainfall, we could be looking at a robust 2017 peanut crop.”

However, Dillard said a bad August would mean a bad crop and financial hardships for farmers.

“Because crops have looked good up to this point, farmers have spent more money on this crop,” he said. “A harsh August would not be ideal.”

Hurricane season starts to peak in late August, and could affect the crops.

“Hurricanes or tropical storms can bring good rains for us,” Dillard said. “It can also bring localized flooding and heavy winds. We usually don’t want to see the winds due to corn harvest beginning, nor the localized flooding due to killing crops in low areas and terrace channels. However, some of our best peanut crops can be associated with a tropical depression or storm coming through dropping 3 inches to 5 inches of rain. A well-saturated soil at the beginning or middle of August is always welcomed.”

Dillard said there are currently no peanut contracts available.

“Early in the season, somewhere around 50 percent of the crop was contracted around $475-500 per ton,” he said. “There have been some rumors of a $425 per ton contract available toward the end of the season. We will see. I rode across South Georgia yesterday and as we saw with the USDA acreage report, there are a lot of peanuts in Georgia. Very few fields looked bad. With a good August, they could be looking at a very good crop as well. We could be looking at a 2012 all over again.”

2012 was a bumper crop for peanuts.