At the recent spring conference of the American Peanut Shellers Association, held in Albany, Ga., University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist John Beasley shared the results of a recent questionnaire submitted to U.S. peanut agronomists asking them for their thoughts and comments on the upcoming production year.

In the questionnaire, Beasley asked the agronomists to consider the following three questions:

• Will acreage be up, down or steady in your state in 2012 and by approximately how much (percentage up or down) compared to last year?

• What will be the predominant cultivars in your state?

• What do you foresee as the most critical production issues (pests, soil fertility, water, marketing/contracting, etc.) in your state going into the 2012 crop?

Answers provided by the agronomists are as follows, including those from Beasley.

Maria Balota of Virginia Tech University expects acreage in her state to be up in 2012, but she isn’t sure by how much. “I heard of farmers willing to increase peanut acreages they usually have and farmers who didn’t grow peanuts, but are willing to start growing this year.”

The predominant variety, she says, probably will be Bailey, but CHAMPS and Sugg also will be grown. In some fields with heavier soils, Perry performs very well and some farmers will continue to grow that variety.

David Jordan of North Carolina State University expects acreage in his state to be up by 15 percent over 2011, with mostly Virginia-type varieties being planted, including Bailey, Sugg, CHAMPS and Perry. He predicts that maybe 5 percent of the acreage will be planted in runners.

He expects major challenges to be potentially dry weather, Palmer amaranth pigweed, expenses associated with Sclerotinia blight and CBR (but only on a fraction of acres), the ability to control thrips and possible issues with nematodes and mites.

South Carolina

Scott Monfort of Clemson University predicts that South Carolina acreage will be up 10 to 15 percent, and that 70 percent of the acres will be planted in Virginia-types (Bailey, Georgia-08V, CHAMPS and NC-V 11, while 30 percent will be planted in runners, including Georgia-06G, Georgia Greener and Florida-07.

He expects major challenges to include an increase in new growers throughout the state, with some having problems getting contracts; soil moisture, especially considering that most of the state’s acreage is dryland; and the potential for disease and other pest problems.

Naveen Puppala of New Mexico State University says acreage in his state could stay the same as last year or increase by as much as 10 percent, depending on soil moisture at planting.

Cultivars planted will include Valencia-C, Valencia-A, GenTex-136, GenTex-112, GenTex-118, GenTex-119 and GenTex-122 (all Valencia type).

Many farmers have shown an interest in growing peanuts, but not many have signed contracts due to dry weather conditions. Water is expected to be the major limiting factor in 2012.

Chad Godsey of Oklahoma State University thinks acreage in Oklahoma will remain about the same, somewhere around 20,000 to 25,000 acres, with the acreage split somewhere around 40 percent runner, 40 percent Spanish, and 20 percent Virginia.

Runner varieties will be Red River Runner, Georgia-09B, and Tamrun OL07; Spanish will be Tamnut OL06 and AT98-99-14; and Virginia will be mainly Jupiter.

Water and temperatures will be major challenges again this year, and growers also are hesitant about marketing.

Jason Woodward of Texas A&M University says acreage more than likely will stay the same in his state, with acres lost in one region being offset in others.

“Producers are reluctant to commit to peanuts due to the lack of rainfall, and little activity on peanut contracts also plays to the uncertainty. Cotton prices are still relatively strong and may garner acres in the High Plains.

“However, acres in parts of central Texas may come back into production. As for now, it is anyone’s guess.”

Cultivars planted will include: Runner (55 percent): FlavorRunner 458 (35 percent), Florida-07 (25 percent), TamrunOL07 (20 percent), TamrunOL01 (10 percent), Georgia-09B (3 percent), Red River Runner (2 percent), others (5 percent);Virginia (30 percent): Gregory (55 percent), FloridaFancy (25 percent), Perry (10 percent), others (10 percent); Spanish (10 percent): Tamnut OL06 (75 percent), others (25 percent); andValencia (5 percent): Valencia C (50 percent), others (50 percent).

Weather conditions undoubtedly will be the main concern for producers. Lack of adequate soil moisture at planting will deter producers from planting. Uncertainty with contract prices also will impact planting intentions.

Diseases, primarily the pod rot complex, as well as leaf spot and Sclerotinia blight can affect management decisions (weather permitting).

Mike Howell of Mississippi State University says acreage will be up in the state in 2012.

“We were at 14,500 acres last year, and from what I am hearing, we have over 50,000 acres under contract at this time, but that does not include anything from Hattiesburg south. If this number is correct, that would put us close to 60,000 acres.

“Honestly, I really don't see us getting quite that big. I think we will end up somewhere in the 45,000 to 50,000-acre range.”

Most of the Mississippi crop will be planted to Georgia-06G with some acres of Florida-07, Georgia Greener and even less Georgia-07W.There will be a few acres of Georgia-09B if growers can get the seed.

Howell says the main challenge will be harvest, considering the new acres. “I am worried we will not have enough pickers to get the crop in if we have any weather complications. Also, we will have four new buying points in operation this year.

“I am concerned about having enough trailers and keeping peanuts flowing through the system at the buying point.”

Florida outlook

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