Syngenta and the University of Georgia honored an elite group of 16 growers at the Daufuskie Island Club off the coast of Hilton Head, S.C. The growers were inducted into the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club (GPAC).

"Crop rotation, variety selection, tillage practices, proper irrigation, innovative planting methods and effective use of crop protection productions have all contributed to their success," says John Baldwin, University of Georgia Extension agronomist.

"They were challenged by poor emergence due to cool weather after planting, an extremely dry growing season and the worst harvest in 30 years due to heavy rains," Baldwin says. "High incidence of tomato spotted wilt virus also had a direct effect on yields."

"Producing high-yielding, quality peanuts is no easy task," says Lyle Stewart, district manager for Syngenta Crop Protection. "We are proud to be involved in this program and have the opportunity to commend this year’s winners for getting the most from their 2002 crop by practicing effective and efficient crop management."

The GPAC recognizes four state winners and 12 district winners annually for producing the highest yields in Georgia.

Mike McClendon of Macon County had the highest yields in the 20 acre to 99.9 acre category with an average of 5,049 pounds on 63 acres.

Judd Greene of Decatur County had the highest yields in the 100 acre to 299.9 acre category with an average of 5,262 pounds on 152.2 acres.

John Gaines and Ricky Dowdy of Baker County won top state yield honors as well as the top yield in the 300-acre to 599.9-acre category with an average of 5,694 pounds on 311 acres.

Jerry and Jeff Heard of Baker County had the top yield in the 600 acre-plus category with an average of 4,954 pounds per acre on 681 acres.

District winners in Category 1 were Wayne Hobbs of Irwin County, with an average of 4,934 pounds per acre on 25.6 acres; Jeff Collins of Mitchell County, with an average of 4,643 pounds per acre on 44 acres; and Grant Carter of Irwin County, with an average of 4,266 pounds per acre on 39 acres.

District winners in Category II were Rusty Irvin of Turner County, with an average of 4,064 pounds per acre on 161.5 acres; Joey Flake of Burke County, with an average of 4,546 pounds per acre on 111 acres; and AMB Farming Co. (Gordon Chapman) of Terrell County, with an average of 4,257 pounds per acre on 121 acres.

District winners in Category III were Al Sudderth of Calhoun County, with an average of 5,403 pounds per acre on 370.3 acres; Philip Grimes of Tift County, with an average of 4,199 pounds on 496 acres; and Worsham Farms (Lanair Worsham) of Mitchell County, with an average of 4,182 pounds per acre on 457 acres.

District winners in Category IV were Bob McClendon of Calhoun County, with an average of 4,855 pounds per acre on 1,101 acres; Keith Griffin of Decatur County, with an average of 4,828 pounds per acre on 1,270 acres; and Wayne and Gregory Sayer of Irwin County, with an average of 3,871 pounds per acre on 1,813 acres.