Seed supplies should be adequate this year, he adds.

“In the Southeast, there was a little more than 100,000 acres planted in 2011 to produce Foundation Registered Certified Seed. Seventy-three percent was planted in Georgia-06G.

“A majority of those acres, about 96,000, were planted in the state of Georgia, overseen by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association. Georgia-07W, Georgia Greener, Tifguard and Florida-07 all were about 5 to 7 percent of the acres planted for seed, a pretty equal distribution.

“Two percent of the acreage was in Georgia-09B and less than 1 percent in the other varieties. It’s a process, and it takes time to build up to these levels. A majority of the seed available to you will be Georgia-06G.”

Peanut producers, he says, have some very good cultivars to select from. “Breeders have done an outstanding job, and we’ve got genetics unlike we’ve ever seen. It’s amazing the yields we’re seeing from these cultivars.”

Yields throughout Georgia were spotty this past year, says Beasley, especially in non-irrigated fields, with growers in one location making zero yields while a grower just down the road might have made 4,000 to 5,000 pounds per acre.

“I’ve been thrilled with the performance of these large-seeded runner cultivars in non-irrigated conditions. It’s exciting to know that the cultivars we have will work well in irrigated and non-irrigated conditions.”

Before selecting a cultivar, Beasley suggests that growers look at how it has performed over the past several years.

It’s a little early to say something definite about the seed quality situation, he said in mid-January.

“The Georgia Department of Agriculture seed lab doesn’t really start to generate much data until after the first part of January. Some of the early samples of farmer-saved seed were not good. The seed quality ranged from poor to good, but we just don’t have enough information in right now.

“We do not expect a seed shortage this year even with increased acres. We could increase acreage 20 to 30 percent, and we still should have an ample seed supply this year.”

Last year, says Beasley, the four Southeastern states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi combined grew 815,000 acres of peanuts, and there’s talk this year of reaching 1 million acres in the four states.

phollis@farmpress.com