Hurricanes hurt peanut harvest - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hurricanes hurt peanut harvest

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October 25, 2004

Irwin County- Strong winds and heavy rains brought on by a string of hurricanes wreaked havoc in peanut fields across the state. Some growers weren't sure if any of their crop would be spared.

Armond Morris has been growing peanuts since 1962, and he's never seen a year this bad.

"This has probably been one of the most difficult years that the peanut farmers of the state of Georgia's ever experienced," he says.

He's just starting to harvest his 600 acres of peanuts. Something that should have been done by the middle of this month.

"We've lost a lot of poundage per acre either in the harvest of being able to harvest the peanut out of the soil or either in the combining because some peanuts have laid out two or three weeks."

Hurricanes and soggy fields not only delayed the harvest, but ruined much of what was expected to be a pretty good crop.

"We're off over 35% with some fields even more than that, but the whole crop itself would be over 35%," Morris says.

Much of what the growers lost is still in the fields. The peanuts were weakened on the vine when back-to-back storms blew through, and when plows came through to harvest many peanuts were left behind.

Still Morris expects the quality of what left of this year's yield to be good, and says most growers should still be able to harvest enough to meet demand.

"I don't see us having any surpluses to have some carryover that we might normally have," says Morris.

He may not have a surplus, but as Morris counts his pounds of peanuts, he also counting his blessings.

Morris says most growers will be finished harvesting by the end of this week

Posted at 5:05 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com