“The aim of Peanut Profitability is to recognize growers who have shown amazing adaptability in the face of change, and who have continued to produce profitable crops. Today’s class exemplifies peanut growers who have overcome the challenges of farming while improving their profitability. This award is based on entire farm operations, and not just one or two small plots — that sets it apart from others,” says Frey.

During a question-and-answer session following the awards presentation, this year’s Peanut Profitability honorees discussed an array of topics, including their primary information sources, fungicide spray programs, and seeding rates.

Bowers, the Upper Southeast award winner, says his father told him several years ago he couldn’t afford to run an “‘experimental program.’ So I go out to the experiment stations in the state and see what they’re doing. Right now, I’m planting high-oleic peanut seed, after seeing how they’ve performed in experimental plots,” he says.

Bowers used a new hydraulic seed drill this year and as a result probably used more seed than normal. “We had a little problem with seed varying in size, and we planted considerably more seed than normal with our Virginia peanut varieties.

“We got a good stand, and sometimes $20 extra in seed is like money in the bank. We saw more variations in size this year than I ever remember seeing. We plant from a low of 112 pounds to a high of 143. We had new varieties, and we weren’t sure about the seed size, and we had some large-seeded Virginia peanuts,” he says.

He usually starts his fungicide sprays about 45 days after planting, trying to stay on a schedule of every two weeks. “If it gets dry, we stretch from two weeks to a little bit longer. I have made as many as six applications. It just depends on how late the season goes and if we have to wait before getting the peanuts out. It’s usually about five applications, and we have varieties like Florida-07 that requires more sprays, but it yields well,” says Bowers.

Southwest winner White says he gets most of his information from Oklahoma State University. “We have a great peanut team there, and they come around every year and present their findings. We just get a lot of good information from them, and it helps tremendously,” he says.

White says that in 2011, he stayed with the same seeding rate he’s been using for years.

“Generally speaking, we plant at about the first part of May, and the first fungicide application is made at the first part of July. We usually make another application at the middle of August and one at the middle of September, and that’s our usual program,” he says.

He plants on 40-inch rows because that’s how he plants his cotton crop, and when digging peanuts, he runs the tractor at 2.2 miles per hour.