Peanut crop harvest underway, decent yield projected -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut crop harvest underway, decent yield projected

October 1, 2007

Baker County -- Just a week into the fall season, peanut producers are now harvesting their crop; a crop that raised serious concerns for peanut farmers like Shane Kelly who have been hit hard by the lingering summer drought.

"We had to water to work the dirt. We had to water to plant. Just like '06." said Kelly, who along with his father, operates K & K Farms in Baker County.

But when the Kelly's planted their fields, all 1,200 acres back in May, the success of South Georgia's top money crop was a guessing game, just like last year, for them and other farmers throughout the region.

"In the last couple of years, we just haven't seen any exceptional yields," said Kelly.

With the drought now it's 22nd month, planted acreage across Georgia dropped considerably.

K & K Farms relied heavily on irrigation systems to make up for the lack of rain, providing a harvest by no means ideal, but perhaps better than expected.

"We haven't had any rainfall right through this area. So I Guess it's as good as you could expect," he said.

Farmers say the price of peanuts is up slightly. But Georgia farmers didn't plant nearly as many peanuts this year.

With early harvests already hitting buying points, some analysts predict a good crop for '07. Early field testing has shown yields around 3,000 pounds per acre.

And despite little rainfall, Kelly predicts decent yields from his crop. He said, "we're looking at 2 tons being a good yield. 2 tons or below."

With the fall harvest to hit the markets soon, farmers are now hoping that '08 will perhaps be a better year than the last two. Hopefully a year with more rainfall that's essential to their crops.