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• Across the entire belt, peanut specialists estimate an acreage reduction of about 14 percent from 2010.
• The USDA Intentions Report predicts a 4 percent drop in total planted acres.
Cost of water a big factor
The cost of water is another factor in peanuts. Again, historically on land where wells are marginal, that land is going to cotton, he adds.
In Oklahoma, OSU cropping systems specialist Chad Godsey says peanut plantings should stay in the 20,000 acre range, or much the same as last year. The big change is likely to be a continued increase in the acres planted to Spanish varieties. “I expect nearly half our acreage will be in Spanish cultivars this year,” he says.
Godsey says over the past few years some ‘old ground’ previously used for peanuts has come back into production. Bringing more old peanut land back into production could increase acreage, but cotton is the big competition for land in those areas and prices still favor it, he adds.
Peanut production is relatively new to Mississippi, and the state has gradually increased production to near 20,000 acres. However, Mississippi State University Extension district agronomist Mike Howell says that trend is likely to end with the 2011 crop.
Howell says a cut of 20 percent, pushing peanut acres down to 14,000 to 14,500, is expected this year.
A big concern for peanut production in the state has been to find varieties that are best suited to the area. Primarily varieties developed in Georgia and Florida have been used.
Georgia Greener looked promising, but seed issues are likely to influence growers to look to other varieties. In the southern end of the state, he says Florida 07 works well, but not in northern areas of the state.
As in most states, cotton is also an issue for peanut acreage in Mississippi. “While some may stick with peanuts at $550-$600 per ton, there is no incentive to increase acreage and as long as cotton prices remain high, it will be tough for peanuts to compete,” Howell says.