Many farmers are opting to wait for more market information before pulling the trigger on contracts, though some who needed the money for planting the new crop did opt for contract offers. 

With the strong markets and shrinking supply, all 2010 peanuts in the Market Loan Assistance Program (MLA) are expected to be purchased at some price. Most of the peanuts in the MLA program were Option Contract-priced earlier in the season. 

“I think prices to growers will work themselves toward the NPP, but several factors will be influencing the market,” says Smith.

During the last week in June, Georgia’s peanut crop looked better than the cotton crop, he says, but many stands are skippy, even under irrigation. “We’re talking more now about being able to make an average crop. At this point, we’re not expecting a record crop,” he says.

According to USDA’s acreage estimate released on June 30,  the U.S. area planted to peanuts in 2011 is at 1.15 million acres, down 11 percent from 2010. Area for harvest is forecasted at 1.12 million acres, also down 11 percent from last year. 

Severe drought conditions in the South and higher cotton prices were the primary factors leading to the decrease in peanut acres. In Georgia, the largest peanut-producing state, area planted to peanuts is the lowest since 1982 and planted acres in Texas are the lowest since 1926.

Planted area continues to decrease in the Virginia-North Carolina region as growers have switched to more profitable crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton. 

By June 19, 96 percent of  the peanut crop had been planted, 2 percentage points behind last year. As of June 26, the crop was rated 29 percent good to excellent, compared with 71 percent last year.

The CCC has announced the 2011 loan rates for the four types of peanuts. CCC calculated the price support levels for each type using the same method as last year. It uses the national average loan rate of $355 per ton and the five-year average quality factors along with a three-year simple average weighted production. 

Rates are effective Aug. 1, 2011. Based on the type, quality and locations, the average ton loan levels are $354.32 per ton for runner-types, $345.87 per ton for Spanish-types; $358.26 per ton for Valencia-types; and $358.26 for Virginia-types.

CCC applies premiums and discounts for quality factors to compute the loan value for an individual ton of peanuts. The actual loan level depends on the percent of various sizes of kernels in each ton.

CCC uses the percentage of Sound Mature Kernels (SMKs) and sound splits (SS) to compute the basic loan value. SMKs are whole kernels that pass over the testing screen of each type. Sound splits are whole kernels split into two pieces.

Excess sound splits receive a “discount.” There are also discounts for “other kernels” (OK), damaged kernels (DK) and foreign materials (FM). An additional discount occurs for loose shell kernels (LSKs).