Farmers aren’t known for bragging, but Georgia peanut producers might be forgiven this year for gloating just a bit over what is shaping up to be a record-breaking crop.

With average yield estimates climbing into the two-ton range, growers were heading into the early harvest period feeling confident about their prospects.

“We’ve picked about 70 acres, and yields are about 5,000 pounds per acre,” said southwest Georgia producer Hal Israel during the state’s peanut tour held in late September. “That’s where we want to be — anything over that will be good.”

Israel, who farms with his brothers and father in southwest Georgia’s Sumter County, grows about 650 acres of peanuts along with cotton, corn and snap beans. “We had a hot, dry summer, but rain has been good lately. We’re 100 percent irrigated,” he says.

Israel grows improved varieties such as GA-06G, GA-07W and Tifguard, with most of his crop going into seed development.

Israel’s County Extension Agent, Bill Starr, says his growers planted about 10,000 acres of peanuts this year, and the early yield estimate was 3,800 pounds per acre. Starr says approximately 75 percent of Sumter County peanut acreage is irrigated, and growers have battled troublesome pests this year such as white mold and herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth pigweed.

(For additional information on the Georgia Peanut Tour, see Georgia peanut growers could see record yields this year).

While drought conditions have eased somewhat in southwest Georgia this year, growers who planted both irrigated and dryland peanuts were seeing a wide variation in yields between the two crops.

Neil Lee, who farms with his father and brothers in southwest Georgia’s Lee and Terrell counties, says their dryland peanuts aren’t very promising this year, but the irrigated crop is a different story.