Southwest peanut production, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, is estimated at 686 million pounds, up 12 percent from the previous forecast and up 20 percent from 2009. Planted area is estimated at 197,000 acres, up 6 percent from the previous crop year. Area for harvest is estimated at 194,000 acres, up 11 percent from 2009. The average yield for the region is estimated at 3,536 pounds per acre, up 310 pounds from the previous forecast and up 271 pounds from the previous crop year. Yield is down from last season in Oklahoma, up from last year in Texas, and unchanged from last year in New Mexico.

Total shelled peanut stocks showed 532 million pounds, down 10.3 percent, with edible grades reaching 485 million pounds, down 15.4 percent. However, oil stocks totaled 46.7 million pounds, up 135 percent from the same month in 2009, and likely a signal that the quality of the 2010 crop is not as good as in 2009.

Edible stocks of shelled peanuts by type, Virginia and Valencia stocks are at 122 million pounds, up 4.1 percent. Runners were down 20.4 percent (352 million pounds) and Spanish totaled 20.5 million pounds, up 30.0 percent from the same month a year ago. 

In November, shellers milled 324 million pounds, 8.4 percent more than the same month in 2009.

Commercial processors used 170 million pounds of shelled edible peanuts, 18.9 percent than the same month last year. Government purchases for nutrition programs totaled 3.14 million pounds of peanut butter (down 18.4 percent) and roasted peanuts totaled 77,760 pounds, down 12.5 percent from the same month in 2009. For the year, government purchases are down overall 23.5 percent (four months) to 20.2 million pounds, due primarily to budget constraints.   

The good news for the peanut industry is that usage numbers continue to rise. USDA shows usage for the first four months up 12 percent after November posted a 16.9 percent increase in usage. 

The snack category showed an impressive 43.2 percent increase for the four-month period and peanut candy continues a 15-percent increase. Holiday orders likely caused the 21-percent increase in usage in November as the prices for other nuts continue to rise.

Peanut butter bounced back with a 10.2 percent increase in November, moving the biggest category back to a positive 2.2 percent.

phollis@farmpress.com