TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Low prices for cotton and other commodities could lead to record peanut production in south Georgia this year. Planting is just around the corner, and with this nice weather, many farmers are itching to get in the field, but agronomists are encouraging farmers not to overplant this year.
Farmers around the state are hoping to harvest more peanuts this year, and a new estimate from the USDA expects them to. Georgia farmers are projected to plant 20% more peanuts than last year.
"Peanuts is a crop that farmers been growing for years. It's very dependable and we have a great peanut industry here in Georgia," said farmer Armond Morris.
Georgia farmers usually plant about 750,000 acres a year, more than 40% of the national total, and numbers this year could be even higher. Low prices for other crops have driven farmers to plant more peanuts, but they're saving money in other areas.
"Diesel fuel is a little bit cheaper as an input cost and fertilizer has come down a little bit," said Morris.
But agronomists warn farmers planting too many peanuts could bring prices for that crop down and hurt profits.
"The crop prices for peanuts as we increase acres or remain this high are going to remain to be pretty low," said peanut agronomist Scott Monfort.
Monfort says despite great weather conditions right now, it's important to stay out of the fields for at least two more weeks.
"And we would really say, let's kind of hold off. Let's not get in a hurry. We really want to wait until at least the third week of April," said Monfort.
Even with these lower prices and more supply expected in 2016, farmers like Morris are still excited for what's to come. Monfort encourages farmers to stay on their yearly rotation for all crops and not let possible prices impact planting decisions.