The 2013 U.S. peanut production year can best be viewed as a contrast to many past years – rainfall was ample, even excessive in many areas of the growing belt, says Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory and advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards.

“A lot of our farmers are just not accustomed to growing peanuts or any other crop for that matter under such conditions,” says Lamb.

In the lower Southeast, there was flooding in some fields and planting was delayed by as much as a month in some areas due to cold, wet conditions during the spring, he adds.

“It’s amazing that even with this year’s reduced acreage, the total U.S. crop will be pushing 2 million tons with and an average yield of about 3,900 pounds per acre. That’s phenomenal when you consider the weather conditions seen by producers in some parts of the U.S. Peanut Belt,” says Lamb.

The good yields in 2013 say a lot about the management skills and production tools being used by growers, he says. “When looking at these tools, genetics are certainly at the top of the list. These new cultivars are performing beyond all expectations. Also, we have excellent fungicide programs for peanuts, and many of our producers are effectively using GPS and losing fewer peanuts at harvest. Farmers are putting all of this together to make consistently high yields.”

While the better-than-expected yields this year are encouraging, they add to an oversupply that has plagued the market for several months now, says Lamb.

“We’ll definitely go into 2013 with an oversupply in the market again. Our growers did a good job this year of reducing acreage to meet market demand, but higher yields add to the supply. The bright side is that we’re moving a lot of peanuts because the price and quality make our peanuts a good value to customers. The National Peanut Board, American Peanut Council and other groups have done an excellent job of promoting U.S. peanuts and extolling the health benefits of peanuts.”