What is in this article?:
- China‚Äôs surprise purchases help ease pressure of huge peanut crop
- Outstanding state yield
- Acreage reduction still needed
• Strong demand — particularly unexpected demand from China — has helped brighten the peanut picture considerably.
Outstanding state yield
“Mississippi had a 4,400 pound yield average, which is outstanding. We’d been leading the industry in yields since we became a member of the national peanut organization, but Georgia edged us into the No. 2 position in 2012 with a 4,550 pound average.
“We had ideal growing season weather in Mississippi, and a widely-planted new variety, GA06, yielded really well.”
The 2011 crop shortage as a result of Texas’ extreme drought resulted in a nationwide shortage that pushed up 2012 contract prices — as much as $1,000 per acre — and resulted in widespread acreage increases across the peanut belt.
“We got a bumper crop on more acres, which resulted in a surplus of peanuts, and that will affect the industry in the months ahead.” But, Broome says, “China’s purchases have certainly been welcome to help reduce that surplus.
“We would normally would expect to have some peanut contracts on offer by this time in the year, but at this point there are none. We know our growers will be facing a lower price for 2013 peanuts, but hopefully there will be a price that will offer them a profit potential — particularly in situations of peanuts versus dryland corn or maybe even dryland soybeans and cotton.
“There’s no doubt Mississippi acreage will be down from last year, but this may be an opportunity for those who don’t have irrigation to rotate out of peanuts. We’re we’ll have a decent crop year, and there are plenty of peanuts to carry us through the year.”
One benefit of the large supply, Broome says, is that “consumers ought to be seeing cheaper prices for peanut butter and other peanut products in the supermarkets.
“We’re still excited that peanut production will stay in Mississippi and we look for it to continue to grow in the years ahead. We had around 48,000 acres last year, but our average acreage is only around 20,000, and I would think we will certainly be above that.”
Marshall Lamb, research leader for the USDA/ARS National Peanut Laboratory at Dawson, Ga., says the peanut market this year “is drastically different from last year. In 2012, we were under-supplied because of the drought-shortened 2011 crop and we needed a significant increase in acreage and production.
“We did increase acreage somewhat in 2012, but the big increase in production was a result of historically high yields — just over 4,100 pounds — which gave us an unprecedented production total of almost 3.2 million farmer stock tons.