Emmett Rouse, who farms near LuRay, S.C., won the 2012 South Carolina Peanut Yield Contest, with an average of 5,816 pounds per acre on 574 acres.

He planted Georgia Greener and Georgia 06G peanuts for his winning entry.

District Winner for the 2012 yield contest was Delano Kneese and Sons Farm in Pelion, S.C.  The father and son team of Delano and Ricky Kneece averaged 5,295 pounds of peanuts per acre on 402 acres to win the second place award.

Brad Boozer, director of the South Carolina Peanut Board for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, notes that 2012 was an exceptional year for peanuts across the Southeast. Though South Carolina’s state average has been listed at 3,800 pounds per acre, Boozer says when final tallies are in, primarily from South Carolina peanuts sold in Georgia and North Carolina, the state average will likely be better than 4,000 pounds per acre.

“We had a number of growers who turned in exceptional yields in the annual yield contest, and in visiting with farmers, I know there were plenty of fields that topped 6,000 pounds per acre. With all the new technology we have and new varieties we have, I hope we will one day soon have a state winner with a three ton average,” Boozer said

Rouse missed the three ton mark by less than 200 pounds. His yield totals are especially impressive, considering he grows runner type peanuts. Larger kernel Virginia-type peanuts historically produce higher poundage than runners.

In winning the year’s contest Rouse topped Ricky and Delano Kneece who have won the award six out of the past eight years, setting a high standard for both yield and quality for South Carolina grown peanuts.

The yield awards were made during the recent South Carolina Peanut Board’s annual grower meeting in Santee, S.C. The meeting site was moved from Orangeburg to accommodate larger crowds and more vendors participating in the exhibition hall that has been a part of the meeting for the past several years.

Speaking at the event, South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers commended the Peanut Board for selecting a new site, and noted that it appears they are well under way to outgrowing the Santee facility as well.

Though much of the talk at this year’s annual meeting centered on the over-supply of peanuts and need to reduce acreage, the over-flow crowd of growers signals no loss of interest in peanuts among South Carolina growers.

For the first time in history, last year South Carolina growers, with 107,000 acres, topped their neighbors in North Carolina in total peanut acreage.

rroberson@farmpress.com