2016-07-27 / Front Page

Dry land peanuts hurting

By Clint Thompson
UGA College of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences

Not withstanding the July 17 rainfall which provided between one and two inches in some areas — it has been a long, dry summer for Georgia’s peanut farmers.

Until more rain falls on Georgia's parched dryland peanut crop, the University of Georgia peanut agronomist Scott Monfort says peanut farmers should stop applying other treatments to their crops.

Even with heavy rainfall last week throughout areas of south Georgia, peanut producers need more rain to offset the dry summer that has stifled the growth of dryland peanuts, Monfort said.

Without additional rainfall, Monfort says some application treatments will be moot for farmers in dryland fields. Growers in drought stricken areas who apply treatments without the added benefit of water are likely going to lose money, he said.

Monfort recommends growers wait and see if more rain comes over the next couple of weeks before investing significant money and resources into their crop.

“The rain we received last week was a welcome sight for our peanut farmers, especially those who farm their crop without the benefit of irrigation. They have gone weeks without their peanuts receiving a substantial amount of rain,” Monfort said. “While this will certainly help these plants start to grow, we need more rain so these plants can reach their full potential.”

Even if dryland peanuts in Georgia receive multiple rain showers this week, it will take a week and a half for the plants to recover, Monfort said. “You can’t put anything on these crops to make them turn around other than water,” he said.

Dryland peanuts have a significant impact on Georgia’s overall production. Half of the state’s peanut crop is produced in fields without irrigation.

With the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting that peanut prices range from $407 to $429 per ton, growers need to produce a quality crop to negate the low prices.

“We’re getting into that sweet spot of the growing season where we need rain from now until the end of August. If we don’t get any in the next four weeks, it’s going to be very bad for some dryland farmers,” Monfort said.

According to UGA’s Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, Tifton has received 5.48 inches from May 1 to July 16, approximately half of last year’s total of 10.47 inches during the same time frame and way down from 13.55 inches in 2014 and 20.78 inches in 2013.

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