One-thousand-dollar-per-ton prices, as good as they sounded at the time, might have been the worst thing to happen to the peanut industry, says Nathan Smith, University of Georgia Extension economist.

“As an industry, we’re probably going to regret $1,000-per-ton peanuts,” says Smith, referring to the run-up in prices last year caused by a peanut shortage. This year, there will be no such shortage, he says.

“We’ve got a flood of peanuts coming, and they’ll have to be moved somewhere this coming year,” says Smith.

“Our planted acres also were up this year. Our certified acres came out in mid-August, and they jumped up to a little more than 1.6 million after a little more than 1.1 million acres last year. There’s a huge estimate for yield, at 3,700 pounds per acre. We’ll have a really big crop this year.”

According to the October USDA crop production report, U.S. peanut growers planted 1.636 acres this year compared with 1.1 million acres in 2011. Yield per acre is predicted at 3,832 pounds compared with last year’s crop that averaged 3,386 pounds per acre.

Georgia’s estimated average yield is 4,150 pounds per acre, far exceeding the state’s record-high yield.

Peanut use, on the other hand, has slowed, says Smith.

“We’re seeing a similar situation as we saw in 2009, where we had a big carryover, and then prices went down in 2010,” he says.

The high average yield prediction is a result of more than 75 percent of the crop being in good to excellent condition, he says. The previous record-high average yield was set in 2009, when more than 70 percent of the crop was in the good to excellent range.

“It is a very good looking crop that was planted early, so planting and pegging were ahead of schedule. Crops are maturing slower this year, but growers are still making a big crop.

“We could very easily be at two tons per acre in Georgia when it’s all said and done.

“Using the U.S. trend yield, I would have figured this year’s yield to be around 3,450 pounds per acre. Looking at all peanut-producing states, most are not only above 3,000 pounds per acre but above 3,500 pounds.

“Arkansas could be on the USDA chart next year as a major peanut-producing state, because they have about 18,000 acres this year, according to FSA numbers.”