Yesterday on Inside Agriculture we heard from Scott Montford, Clemson peanut specialist based at the Edisto Research and Education Center near Blackville, South Carolina on 2011 peanut harvest numbers, and anticipated contract prices for the 2012 crop.

Today, Montford has a few suggestions for peanut growers thinking about expanding their acreage:

“The main thing for peanut growers going into this next year, if you are planning on increasing your peanut acres really think about what the previous crop was and how does that affects peanuts, whether it was soybeans or whether it was corn or cotton, make sure that you get the right variety for where you’re at in the state. Try to build upon any resistance that’s available to any of the diseases, tomato spot wilt virus, or leaf spot disease, or whatever it might be, because if you can build that into your program, then you’re at least going to start off on a good note.

And try to really pay attention to what you can physically do as a grower with your peanut acres. Don’t try to jump out there and try to grow too many more than what you can dig and harvest in a timely fashion. Because, our winters can be difficult to handle sometimes. This year, it wasn’t much of a probable because we hadn’t had that much rain, but in a typical year, if anybody’s ever seen a typical year, we tend to get a lot of rain in the winter time.

So, we just have to be practical how we approach adding acres of peanuts in South Carolina; be really diligent about what can I grow;  how can I handle that in my operation;  and how can I get it out. Because, if we leave it in the field, we’re really not doing ourselves any good.”

Prices were good in 2011 for many commodities, and Montford feels once again that price will determine acre distribution for 2012 crops:

“If cotton goes down below .80 cents…maybe.  But, I don’t think…you know most of that cotton acreage came out of soybean and corn and so I don’t’ know that we’d steal too many acres from cotton because we’ve been increasing every year in peanuts, but again there’s only so many acres we can put peanuts on because of rotation. So, I don’t know how strong of a pull we’d go either way. I think we could probably increase up 10 percent, but I don’t know that we could go much more than that, too quickly. We just don’t have the land availablitly.”

Montford has the advice of choosing a peanut variety carefully to match the problems and attributes of a particular field:

“Most of our varieties aren’t too bad. We’ve gotten some good varieties, the one that’s come out that’s got a pretty good package for diseases is the Bailey, especially where we’ve got some CBR problems and some white mold issues. That variety seems to do well on some of these diseases. However, we don’t want to plant that one wall-to-wall either because, one, availability of that variety, but you also don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, either. We’ve got a lot of other good options. A lot of our ground doesn’t have all the disease problems, so, there’s a lot of other varieties that can be planted on that ground that can do very well and yield very well.

That’s what I was mentioning we just need to be aware of what kind of historical problems that we’ve had and try to match the varieties up to that.”

Scott Montford, Clemson peanut specialist based at Edisto Research and Education Center in South Carolina is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.