Birdsong Peanut Company recently announced option contracts for Virginia type peanuts at $425 per ton and $375 per ton for Georgia Green, the only runner type offered in Virginia. Severn Peanut Company offered only Virginia type contracts.
Regardless of which type is grown from a cost/return model used by Virginia peanut specialists, Virginia types are more profitable in the northernmost peanut production state. Virginia Peanut Specialist Joel Faircloth and Isle of Wight Extension Agent Glenn Rountree adapted an economic model developed by David Jordan for North Carolina growers, to Virginia cost inputs.
In the model, three economic models were used for comparisons: Georgia Green runners and Virginia type peanuts grown on low yield potential land (3,052 pounds per acre for runners and 2,989 pounds per acre for Virginia types), medium yield potential land (3,552 pounds per acre for runners and high yield potential land (4,052 for runners and 3,695 for Virginia types).
In the low yield potential model, both types of peanuts were losing propositions, though runners were the bigger losers.
In the middle yield potential model, runners produced $86 per acre in profit, compared to $98 per acre for Virginia types.
In the high yield model, Virginia types produced $202 per acre and Georgia Green $180 per acre.
Each model is based on using 100 pounds of seed per acre for runners and 140 pounds of seed per acre for Virginia types.
Faircloth notes that these models emphasize the need for Virginia peanut growers to plant peanuts only on land with high (4,000 pounds per acre or more) yield potential and to use necessary inputs to reach these levels.
Rountree adds that getting maximum maturity on Georgia Green peanuts in Virginia is the biggest concern he has for growing the longer maturing runner variety. Susceptibility to CBR is another risk, he adds.
Optimum maturity for Georgia Greens will be in mid-October, which correlates to late October picking, according to data developed by Virginia Tech Researcher Pat Phipps at the Tidewater Research Center. Rountree points out that first freeze date for Southern Virginia is around Oct. 11.
Even if growers get the crop in before first frost, optimum harvest date will be right in the middle of cotton harvest, Rountree cautions.
Growers can forget about eliminating the cost of calcium on Georgia Greens in most cases, Rountree says. Soil testing at 3-inch soil depths is critical to determine calcium needs. If soil tests show calcium levels lower than 300 ppm, growers will need to add land plaster for runners, the Virginia Extension agent, stresses.
In South Carolina, Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers, a peanut grower himself, says the higher contracts for Virginia types may cause a significant increase in Virginia versus runner types planted in his state.
Weathers, who along with his brother grew 400 acres of Virginia type peanuts last year, says contracts limited to 75 percent of last year’s yield may reduce the overall acreage of peanuts in South Carolina, but increase Virginia type acreage.
Regardless of which variety is grown and where it is grown, it will be the fourth thousand pounds of peanuts that dictates profitability, if contracts remain at the $425 and $375 level.