NC Peanut Producer Overcomes Challenges at Planting for Good Crop

While generally considered one of the best growing years in recent memory, it certainly wasn’t without its challenges. Chris Stancill, a part of Stancill Farms Inc. a family operation in southern Pitt County farms 800 acres of peanuts; 700 Virginia type and 100 runner type. Stancill explains that getting the crop planted with Tropical Storm Beryl dumping rain right at planting time was challenging:

“We started on our normal planting schedule. We usually start planting our Virginia peanuts around may 5th, and then we plant our runner variety peanuts last, usually around May 25th. This season we stayed on that same schedule. The only monkey wrench, is that we had heavy rains around the 25th of May. The water damaged some of my peanuts so much that I had to re plant 100 acres of the Virginia type on June 15th.”
 

And despite some of the crop being planted extremely late, Stancill says the yield was good:
 

“It’s super late, but with the season we had the rest of the year those peanuts turned out surprisingly well. The Virginia peanuts I planted on June 15th, I just harvested them, and they are going to be somewhere in the 3800 pound range. That is very good being planted that late.”
 

Stancill explains that this was an above average rainfall year for his farm:
 

“We had more rainfall then our normal crop, we had a spell in late July and early August where we had above normal rainfall that scared us a bit, but I don’t think it damaged me a lot. It was scary because we did have above average rainfall this year.”
 

With so much rain, Stancill stayed on top of any potential fungus problems:
 

“I did put in one extra application of fungicide. I sprayed my peanuts one time more than a normal season.”
 

And Stancill says he usually has to spray at least once for worms, but that wasn’t needed this year.

Of course, effects of Hurricane Sandy impacted harvest all along the east coast, and Stancill says his farm was no different:
 

“I was still lacking about 150 acres. We had three inches of rain so it put me out of the field a little longer than I wanted to be. I just finished my Virginia peanuts, but I had to wait for the land to dry out. It wasn’t the peanuts, it was the land.”

 

Stancill explains that he’s been fortunate to yield about 4,100 pounds to the acre, and with the exception of those June-planted fields, this year’s yield is right in line with his five-year average:

“For my last five crops that is about average. We have been blessed in this area for five years now. I just started harvesting my runners so I don’t know what they will yield. I suspect they will be a little higher.”
 

Stancill says that he never plants peanuts off of contract, and here’s why:

“We are going to have an oversupply of peanuts and that is one reason we never plant off of contract. The companies know about what supply they need, and they try to contract acres to keep that supply in a normal range, so I usually base our planting acres based on what they say they need. A lot of people last year who made peanuts off contract got paid really well, but we as peanut farmers need to look at the big picture. We don’t need to over supply the market because that turns around the very next year to hurt us. We need a steady supply of good peanuts to meet the market demand.”
 

Pitt County’s Chris Stancill. For more of our harvest in the Carolinas series, click here


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