ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
New estimates show Georgia farmers planted 800,000 acres of peanuts this year; up 200,000 acres from last year and the highest amount since 1991.
That number is great for consumers-- not so much for farmers. Experts say peanuts are ahead of schedule statewide, but farmers could see lower profits when it comes time to harvest.
"Pegging good right now, we've got adequate moisture and temperatures are not too bad," said farmer Aaron Cosby. "It really looks like it's going to be a pretty good crop this year."
Farmers across Georgia are excited about this year's crop. Peanuts are greening up in the fields and are much more mature than they were at this time last year.
But the lack of consistent rain has forced some farmers to turn on irrigation systems so far, things look good. "They look good right now. They're blooming, setting pegs, we just hope and pray that it continues," said Cosby.
But could there be too many peanuts this year? A USDA survey estimates a 33% increase from the 590,000 acres planted in Georgia last year.
Over three quarters of a million acres of peanuts have been planted. "The price to the farmer will come down," said Dougherty County Ag Agent James Morgan.
Experts say prices could dip below $400 per ton this year. The surplus will have the opposite effect for consumers. "Peanut products will be at a lower price, like peanut butter will be at a lower price, more will either be consumed or bought," said Morgan.
Temperatures and rainfall will impact this year's yield, but Cosby and Morgan agree this crop goes a long way in Georgia's economic bottom line.
"It's still a little early to make a prediction as far as what the outcome's going to be. We hope and pray that it's a good turnout," said Cosby.
Farmers will just have to wait and see. The national increase for peanut acres planted is about 18%, nearly 1.6 million acres were planted this year. Half of that right here in Georgia.