Editor’s Note: Each summer, Farm Press, along with its co-sponsors, presents the Peanut Profitability Awards to deserving growers from each peanut-producing region who have simultaneously achieved top yields and cost efficiency over their entire operations. Since these awards are based on the previous year’s production, we thought it would be interesting to see how our 2013 honorees fared during the most recent growing season.

While excessive rainfall in 2013 caused fits for producers throughout the U.S. Peanut Belt, yields for the most part still averaged good to excellent, and this past year’s Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award winners were among those who generally were satisfied with their most recent crops.

“I was pleased overall with this past year’s peanut crop, especially considering the excessive rainfall we received,” says Tim McMillan, the south Georgia producer who was the 2013 Peanut Profitability winner for the lower Southeast region.

“It was the wettest year we’ve ever seen,” he adds. “The majority of our land is high and with a good roll, so it drained well and the rains weren’t a problem. But in other areas, where the land is low and flat, some of our peanuts were drowned out.”

McMillan says he averaged about 5,000 pounds per acre overall, which he considers pretty good considering rainfall amounts. His peanuts that were planted in low-lying areas averaged closer to 2,500 pounds per acre, he says.

Forty-percent of McMillan’s peanuts are irrigated, and he says he was able to reduce those input costs. However, his irrigated peanuts still out-yielded his dryland crop, probably due to one dry spell he experienced during the growing season.

“This past year was the latest we’ve ever planted cotton or peanuts, and we were nearly three weeks later than normal. My goal every year is to be finished planting peanuts by May 1 and cotton by May 10. This past year, we finished planting peanuts on May 17 and started planting cotton on that same day.”

McMillan planted his entire 2013 acreage in Georgia-06, not counting the land that was planted for variety trials.

“Our grades were excellent this past year, just a like a lot of other growers. Unless you had peanuts that were under water for any length of time, you probably made good grades in 2013. We didn’t expect the grades to be so good because of the excessive moisture, but we were really pleased with the final results.”

Plentiful rainfall meant more disease pressure in 2013, but McMillan says he stayed on a strict fungicide application schedule and it wasn’t as bad as he expected.

“Other than pre-plant, we don’t typically fertilize peanuts, but this past year I applied some ammonium sulfate on the part of our crop that was drowned. If there was ever a year to do it, I thought it was probably this past year, and it looks as if it paid off.”

McMillan and his brother Steve are seventh-generation farmers in south Georgia’s Berrien County. Farming since 1983, he is on a three-year rotation. Mostly, it’s two years of cotton and then peanuts. Sometimes, he’ll throw corn in the mix, depending on prices. In addition to peanuts, cotton and corn, Southern Grace Farms also produces you-pick strawberries, blackberries, nectarines and peaches.