2003 looks like a banner year for peanut producers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

2003 looks like a banner year for peanut producers

August 19, 2003

Albany -- Peanut producers are optimistic that the 2003 crop will be good quality and quantity. But will the price be enough for South Georgia farmers to make a profit after several down years?

August estimates from the Georgia Peanut Producer Association grade 23 percent of the state's peanut crop as excellent, and 59 percent good. The size of the crop is estimated as smaller, with a yield of 32 hundred pounds per acre.

 So Georgia peanut farmers are very happy with harvest time fast approaching. Dr. John Beasley said "We're in very good shape. It's probably the best that many people in the industry have seen in years. In fact at one point we were comparing to some of the years in the '70's."

The new farm bill will pay at least $355 per ton for peanuts. In the first year of the farm bill, with a good harvest, farmers who have struggled through 5 years of drought could see much needed profits.

Dr. Nathan Smith said "It would be a much needed boost to the rural economy, as well as Georgia's economy." Manufacturers have used most of the 2002 peanuts, so the demand for this year's crop looks strong.

Farmers hope for drier weather in September and October so they can harvest their peanuts during peak yields, to make for a great season. Dr. Beasley said "Right now we are really set up for an outstanding crop if the weather will cooperate during the harvest."

State agronomists say the majority of Georgia peanuts will be ready to harvest from September 10th to October 10th.

posted at 3:09 PM by jimw@walb.com