Peanut mold will be expensive for farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut mold will be expensive for farmers

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

Worth County, GA (WALB) - With harvest just a week away, South Georgia peanut farmers are hoping for dry weather.

After years of drought, this unusually wet summer has given peanut farmers a disease problem that could cost them big money.

Farmers produced record yields during those drought years, but this year too much rain has brought problems.

Ag experts tell us that white mold is epidemic in South Georgia peanut fields, hurting the yield and quality of this year's crop. That probably will mean lower payments for the nuts they harvest.

Worth County Extension Agent Rusty Harris knows what he is going to find as he checks this field of peanuts---  white mold.

"These leaves are dead right here," Worth County Extension Agent Rusty Harris said. "That pod has been effected. So these right here. They are rotten. And that's where we get into money that's lost."

Harris said almost every South Georgia peanut farmer is battling white mold and army worms because of the unusually wet spring and summer.

"All that feeds into lower yield, lower quality, lower grade on the peanuts. And that comes off the bottom line to a farmer," Harris said.

Harris said most farmers sprayed heavily this summer against disease and pests. With many spending close to $500 an acre to grow their crop. With more rain forecast over the weekend, farmers are concerned that the mold problem could get worse while they wait for their fields to dry out to harvest.

"We really need to turn off the rain and let things dry out for the most part. So we can get this crop harvested and in the barn," Harris said.

Farmers, already concerned that white mold could deny them any profit this season, and more rain could make it worse if it delays their harvest.

In last year's near record Georgia peanut crop, farmers received on average $450 per ton. This year Harris expects most will be lucky to get around $400 per ton.

Heavy rain in May held up most South Georgia peanut farmer's planting this crop. The majority of harvesting is expected to start in a week to ten days if forecast rain permits.

 

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