After harvesting record peanut yields last fall, South Georgia farmers are now preparing for this year's crop.
New technology helped them reach that record. And Thursday, farmers got a look at the latest in peanut technology from 100 exhibitors at the 37th Peanut Farm show.
Hundreds of farmers from across South Georgia filled the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center to see the latest equipment, seed, and chemicals available. With peanut supplies high and prices low, South Georgia growers are expected to plant a lot fewer peanuts this year.
Thousands of farmers and producers were in Tifton today for one of the biggest annual agri-business trade events in the state.
The Georgia Peanut Commission showed off the latest farm equipment and technology at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show.
"Farming starts before you turn the soil, it starts this time of year when the farmer has to make his decisions and go to the banker and determine what they are going to do for the 2013 crop year," says Don Koehler, GA Peanut Commission Exec. Director.
State Ag experts say following last year's record breaking peanut crop, farmers may need to reduce acreage in 2013.
"What it means is we really grew too many peanuts last year so we have to work our way out of an over supply situation, we will make sure we get through that the market is going to do a lot of that because market prices are not all that great right now, farmers will be more conservative in the acres that they plant," says Koehler.
Many farmers will be forgoing their peanut crop to plant something else, like cotton or corn. But for some, farming peanuts is a way of life.
"We are looking forward to the 2013 crop, of course we need to cut acreage down a little bit, but those of us who are peanut farmers are peanut farmers, so we are going to grow some peanuts to make sure, it is a semi-perishable commodity, so we are trying to make sure that there is some fresh peanuts for this fall," says Wes Shannon, Peanut Farmer.
Shannon plans to only keep peanuts at about 30% of his available acreage, and will plant cotton for the other 70%.
State Ag leaders are urging farmers to be very conservative when planting peanuts this year because the contract prices are low.
The USDA says Georgia had a record high average yield of 4,550 per acre, in 2012. 150-pounds an acre better than any other state.
Farmers got a look at the latest farm equipment and technology Thursday. The Georgia Peanut Commission held their 37th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show in Tifton.
Farmers are getting more sophisticated in their equipment buying and some are even buying airplanes.
This was the first year a crop duster was displayed at the farm show.
"They are making good money and they need to spray their crops instantly, not wait a week or tow,when the ground is wet, they can get in a spray while the ground is wet," says Payne Hughes, Thrush Aircraft President.
Thrush Aircraft's factory is based in Albany at the Albany airport. This crop duster retails for 875-thousand dollars.