The final U.S. peanut crop report for 2010 shows an estimated production of 4.16 billion pounds, up 5 percent from earlier forecasts and up 13 percent from 2009. Planted acres are forecast at 1.29 million acre, up 15 percent from 2009.

Area harvested is estimated at 1.26 million acres, up 16 percent from the previous crop year. Average yield is estimated at 3,311 pounds per acre, up 169 pounds from the previous forecast but down 110 pounds from 2009. Still, considering drought conditions in the Southeast, the 2010 average yield is higher than many expected it to be.

Production in the Southeast States, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, is estimated at 3.20 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous forecast and up 13 percent from 2009. Planted area is estimated at 986,000 acres, up 16 percent from 2009. Harvested area is estimated at 957,000 acres, up 16 percent from the previous crop year.

Average yield in the region is estimated at 3,340 pounds per acre, up 140 pounds from the previous forecast but 88 pounds lower than the 2009 average yield. Yields are up from the previous crop year in Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina but yield is down from last year in Alabama.

In Georgia, the leading peanut-producing state, the yield of 3,560 pounds per acre ties the record-high yield achieved in 2009. The excellent yields in Georgia can be attributed to intensive irrigation and new varieties that are proving to be more resistant to drought.

 Virginia-North Carolina production is estimated at 273 million pounds, up 5 percent from the previous forecast but down 5 percent from 2009. Planted area is estimated at 105,000 acres, up 33 percent from the previous crop year. Area for harvest, which is estimated at 104,000 acres, is up 33 percent from 2009. The average yield is estimated at 2,627 pounds per acre, up 163 pounds from the previous forecast but down 1,073 pounds from 2009. Hot, dry weather conditions during the growing season stressed the crop in the region and resulted in poor yields.

Southwest Production

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