Government shutdown could delay 2019 peanut planting

Weather Shutdown GA Peanut Impact

SOUTH GA (WALB) - Georgia produces an estimated 50-percent of the United States peanut supply.

Last year, Hurricane Michael brought damage to most of South Georgia, including the peanut crop.

Harvest can sometimes be affected by the harshest of weather and storms, and for the state, peanuts are their biggest cash crop. If anything happened to the crops, it could present a problem.

But the biggest concern surrounding peanuts, is the amount of rainfall we received this year.

“This last 10 to 15 percent of the crop was damaged due to the wet conditions," said Peanut Buying Point Association Executive Director Tyron Spearman. "We still have peanuts in the field now that cannot be harvested and will likely be aborted by the farmers.”

Unlike most crops, cold weather currently doesn’t affect the peanut crop too much due to the time they are planted, but this past year did present a problem.

Between the fire at Birdsong Peanuts and Hurricane Michael, which ripped through the south, Georgia is looking at ending up at 2.7 million tons, which is an estimated 20 percent lower than last year’s crop.

“Georgia produces about 40, almost 50 percent of the peanuts in America, are produced in Georgia," said Spearman. "You take Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina and that’s over 70 percent of the peanuts being produced in the southeast and that’s the wettest area that we are having to put up with.”

With the current government shutdown, the farmers are still at a standstill on what they can expect in terms of this next harvest.

“It also has the information on the prices and the information on the world market," said Spearman. "Whether it’s Argentina and China, whether they’re going to be buying any peanuts. So, we are really at a shut down on the peanuts for 2019.”

Spearman said the peanut transitions for this year are at zero until the government can open back up. He said they have a grace period until the April planting, they have a little bit of time until they need to start worrying.

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