What is in this article?:
- Multiple factors are causing a delay this year in Georgia's peanut harvest.
- Planting was delayed due to a cool, wet spring.
- The average yield for 2013 is estimated at 3,900 pounds per acre, far short of last year's record.
GEORGIA PEANUT FIELDS, usually busy with harvest activities were quiet in mid-September, the result of multiple factors including delayed planting and excessive rainfall throughout the growing season.
Problem began with planting delays
The problems began with planting delays caused by cool, wet weather in the spring, says Beasley.
“In the last several years, we’ve had research that clearly shows the positive yield response growers get from planting into the latter part of April and the first part of May. As we get into later May, we see our yields decline, especially as we get into June.”
More peanut acres than usual will be abandoned in Georgia this year, especially in low-lying areas of fields, he says.
“We’re seeing cultivars that normally take about 140 to 145 days to reach maturity taking about 150 to 155 days if they were planted in that April 15-25 time frame. When we go to fields that were planted around May 1-15, they’re taking only about 140 days.
“So it’s not unusual for a grower to have a field he planted on about April 20, to take 150 to 155 days. But if he planted another field about a week later, it’ll be ready to dig at about the same time. So we’ll need to continue to monitor maturity of this crop.”
Some locations, especially in the eastern part of the state, received double the amount of rainfall they normally receive for the May 1 through Aug. 31 timeframe, which accounts for the majority of the peanut production season, says Beasley. Other areas received just slightly above-normal rainfall.
“The two hottest days we reached were 93.4 on June 12 and 94.1 two months later. Only 31 days out of 123 were 90 degrees or above. The average maximum temperature for south Georgia is about 92 degrees.
“We had a lot of days below that. Last year, with a record peanut yield of 4,700 pounds per acre, we had 10 more days that were above 90. Cooler temperatures were ideal for blooms to convert to pegs. However, saturated soils prevented the plants from developing normally, and pegs were inhibited from the soil and developing in a timely manner.”