The competition among crops for lower Southeastern acres doesn’t appear to be as fierce as in recent years, according to enterprise budgets from the University of Georgia.

In fact, peanuts — even in the midst of a continuing excess in supply — lead the pack this year, followed by cotton, corn, soybeans and sorghum

“For irrigated peanuts, we had a 4,500-pound average for last year’s budget, but with the success of the Georgia 06G variety and the fact that it makes up more than 80 percent of our acres, we raised the average yield this year to 4,700 pounds. We used a $440 average as an expected price, thinking we’d probably see a range of $425 to $450," said Nathan Smith, a farm economist with UGA Cooperative Extension.

“We have an expected price of $4.60 for corn, which might be a little optimistic. But we feel like we’ll do a little better in terms of prices in south Georgia than in north Georgia. We also estimated expected prices of $10.80 for soybeans, $4.17 for grain sorghum and $5.65 for wheat,” says Smith.

Cost of seed should not change much for peanuts as shelled prices are around 50 cents per pound, he says. “They actually could go lower based on the relationship with the shelled market. However, costs are usually sticky; 70 to 75 cents per pound is the likely range.

“Variable costs are expected to be less for crops except for peanuts. Fertilizer prices are expected to average less in 2014 as well as diesel fuel. These cost categories affect cotton and corn more than peanuts. Chemicals and seed will see increases in the more popular products and varieties while others will decrease.”

Estimated irrigated yields in this year’s budgets include 1,200 pounds per acre for cotton, 200 bushels per acre for corn, and 60 bushels per acre for soybeans, he says. “At these estimated yields, peanuts come out best followed by cotton, and even soybeans look better than corn,” says Smith.