Georgia producers had the highest U.S. yield at 4,550 pounds per acre on 730,000 acres. Expected acreage this year is between 490,000 and 500,000 acres.

Growers are being strongly encouraged to reduce acreage. Georgia’s 2011 acreage of 460,000 was the lowest in the state since 1926, and producers have planted less than a half-million acres only five times since then.

Growers are being advised to wait until the soil temperature at 4 inches is 70 degrees rather 65 degrees before planting. In most years, it’s not warm enough to plant peanuts in Georgia before April 15.

White mold has been the primary pest in the past three years. Plant pathologists are recommending fungicide application at 28 to 35 days after planting.

At least 80 percent of the cultivars planted in 2013 will be GA-06G along with about 5 percent each of Tifguard, GA-07W, Florida-07 and Georgia Greener.

Florida growers planted about 200,000 acres this past year. Acreage is expected to decline by 130,000 to 140,000 acres. Some Florida producers have more options on what to grow than those in the sandier soils.

Key production issues this past year included dry weather early in the season and glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth pigweed. Primary cultivars to be planted this year include GA-06G, Florida-07 and Tifguard. In the Live Oak area, growers rotate peanuts with corn.

In 2012, says Wright, peanut agronomists had estimated 1.577 million planted acres, a little more than USDA estimates but still lower than the final figure.

The five-year average yield, not including 2012, is 3,250 pounds of peanuts per acre. In 2012, the average U.S. yield was 4,192 pounds per acre, the highest ever and almost 1,000 pounds more than the average.

“From what the peanut agronomists say this year, it looks as though the peanut acreage for 2013 might be at 1.116 million acres as compared to where we ended up in 2012 at 1.626 million.

“This would be about 32 percent lower. A lot will depend on our yields this year. Exports will be critical to maintain a stable industry. Generally, cotton and peanuts are the best crops we can grow in the Southeast, especially on our non-irrigated land,” says Wright.


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