Acreage for Georgia’s peanut crop this year is not expected to decrease, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Peanut Agronomist Scott Monfort. Whether it stays the same or increases from last year’s 660,000 acres is contingent on how growers proceed with other row crops like cotton and corn.
“I think it would be very good to say that we’re not going down. I think if cotton comes back up or if corn goes up, we’re still going to be about where we’re at because it was a good average acreage for us (last year),” said Monfort, who estimates that peanut prices are approximately $425 per ton. “But if cotton doesn’t rebound or if corn doesn’t rebound, we’re going to see a slight increase.”
Though Georgia’s peanut producers are still more than two months away from putting peanuts in the ground, they still some planning left to do.
“The main concern right now is budgets, finances; that’s the two biggest things they’ve got to put together. The next thing is securing seed and making sure they get good quality seed. And then start making those critical decisions like, where am I going to plant? Is that going to be in a short rotation? Is it going to be in a good rotation?” Monfort said. “And start building that production package to build yourself up the right programs to match what you’re going to plant there to minimize any pests or any environmental situation that you can.”
Fortunately for Georgia farmers, they will experience cooler temperatures this week, as low as 27 degrees Monday and Tuesday nights in Tifton, Georgia, according to www.weather.com. This should help knock back some of the insect population. Mild winters, like what Georgia has experienced so far, allow insects, such as thrips, to overwinter on volunteer peanut plants left in the field. Since thrips spread tomato spotted wilt virus, this will be a huge concern for peanut growers once growing season begins. Potential hot weather this spring and summer will also fuel white mold.
Monfort encourages farmers to attend county production meetings, as he and other members of the UGA Peanut Team speak in-depth about the challenges and obstacles that producers might encounter this year.
“Ask questions and get as much information as possible. If they know they’ve got disease problems, make sure they budget for it and they prepare for it,” Monfort said. For more information about peanuts in Georgia, see https://peanuts.caes.uga.edu/.
Listen to Monfort’s full interview.