By now, all adjectives have been used for the 2012 U.S. peanut crop — phenomenal, warehouse-buster, record-breaker.

However you describe it, a tidal wave of peanuts hit the market this past year, says Nathan Smith, University of Georgia Extension economist.

The latest USDA estimate has the 2012 peanut crop pegged at approximately 1.36 million planted acres with an average yield of 4,192 pounds per acre — an average of more than 2 tons per acre, which smashes the last record of 3,426 pounds in 2008.

“Georgia is the reason the United States average is above 2 tons per acre, with 4,550 pounds per acre,” says Smith. “Everything came together. In 2011, the Georgia crop average was 3,652 pounds per acre, and the high prices of the 2011 crop have slowed down peanut use.”

In March of last year, U.S. planting intentions were at 1.422 million acres and Georgia was at 570,000 acres, he says. “I thought that was too low. The June numbers had Georgia at 710,000, and the final number had Georgia at 735,000 acres planted.

“Alabama was the No. 2 state, followed by Florida. So the Southeast had more acreage this past year than the entire U.S. in previous years. The Southeast continues to drive U.S. peanut production,” says Smith.

The trend-line yield for this past year would have been about 3,450 pounds per acre, going back to 1990 and following a linear trend, he says, but yields this past year were far above what the market or industry predicted.

The only states that didn’t have record-high yields this past year were Texas, New Mexico and South Carolina, which was only 100 pounds behind its 2008 record, says Smith.

“Our issue is obvious going into the 2013 crop. A lot of peanuts have been added to the pipeline, and that’ll push our ending stocks from a low of 502,000 tons at the end of July last year to 1.3 million tons projected at the end of July 2013, so we have a lot of peanuts to move,” he says.

USDA currently is projecting a record increase in total use, according to Smith, and that’s a positive considering supplies.

“The last time we saw a boost in production like this was in 2008. Before that, it would have been 1991. This year, we’ll have to reduce production to prevent stocks from staying as high as they are going into next year.