David Wright of the University of Florida says based on his talks with growers, acreage could be up by about 10 percent in the Panhandle.

Varieties planted will include Georgia-06G and Florida-07 with Tifguard on nematode-infested fields.

He sees water as being the primary challenge for 2012. “Irrigated growers are concerned about the water table being about 20 feet lower than this time last year.”

Kris Balkcom of Auburn University says acreage will depend on price.

“If we have a good contract, I still don't see us breaking 200,000 acres. That would be a 20 percent increase. The most talk about increasing acres in Alabama is from the southwest corner.”

Cultivars planted will include Georgia-06G followed by Florida-07, Georgia-07W and Tifguard.

“Never before have I ever seen contracting the way it has been this year with so many different offers and not everyone having an opportunity at the same offer.

“Several producers came to me and thought it would have been easier and fair to everyone to offer $750 across the board for the acres you had last year.” Primary challenges include dry weather and the burrower bug.

Beasley of Georgia says if you had asked him in early January, he would have said peanut acreage in his state would increase by 25 to 30 percent.

“Once the $750-per-ton contract was pulled, cotton went back above 90 cents per pound, and corn to about $6 per bushel, growers began to think more about those two crops. Acreage may be up less than 20 percent unless contracts are offered by start of planting.”

Georgia-06G will be planted on about 75 percent of acreage, he estimates. Georgia Greener, Georgia-07W, Florida-07 and Tifguard were planted on 5 to 10 percent of seed increase acreage in 2011.

Tifguard will be in even greater demand due to the loss of Temik, and Georgia-09B and FloRun ‘107’ look promising.

Major challenges include getting enough rainfall to replenish surface and subsurface water resources.

Other challenges include nematode control without Temik and a reluctance by growers to plant Tifguard; control of Palmer amaranth pigweed; burrower bug, if it returns; improved control of white mold; and the potential loss of Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network http://www.georgiaweather.net.

phollis@farmpress.com