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South Carolina Peanut Farmers Facing Moisture Challenges

A few years ago farmers couldn’t give away peanuts, but after a year of drought in two major peanut growing regions, Texas and Georgia it seems that farmers can’t plant enough.

Scott Monfort, peanut specialist at South Carolina’s Edisto Research and Education Center says it’s a cautionary tale for producers:

“Unfortunately, we can plant too much, and that’s what it sounds like we might be going into, but hopefully, that won’t happen.”

As far as contracts for the 2012 growing season, Monfort says most are signed:

“Most of them have been in that $650 to $750 range, and it seems like most of our growers, especially on the Virginia side have gotten all they need. Now, there are still some out there that haven’t gotten them, but, you know, you always have a percentage that really don’t try to contract until later in the year, and we’re not exactly sure how many acres that might be. But, in talking with most of the growers at some of these meetings that we’ve been at, you know, most of them have been able to get decent contracts, and most of them have already been signed.”

As far as peanut acres go, Monfort is anticipating an increase:

“If we stay at the predicted acres from a month or so back, we could be touching that 90,000 acre mark, up 15 to 20 percent.”
Monfort says that right now for peanut growers the biggest issue is moisture:

“This early in the season, right now, the biggest thing is moisture. We need more early-season moisture, we’re lacking right now, and we hope that we continue to get some rain for the next month or so we can get this crop in the ground. Stays warm like this growers are going to want to plant early, so I hope we can get the moisture there, and I hope we can continue to get the temperatures in late April, and don’t have these silly cold fronts come up and bite us for those guys that are thinking about planting mid-April.”

Early on, Monfort says it didn’t look like they’d have seed problems, but as of late, it’s become an issue:

“We have originally said, month ago, that seed would be okay, we wouldn’t have any problems, and looks like the big increase for us is going to be in the runner market, and so it looked like we’d have plenty of runners, we’d have plenty of Virginia’s to plant, and we’re finding out now, due to the weather problems last year, we are seeing some problems with a couple of our varieties, and we’re scrambling now to make sure that we can fulfill the contracts with select varieties.”

Scott Monfort, South Carolina peanut specialist


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