Georgia Seed Development Enhances Seed Production

IMG_1047_seedlabGeorgia Seed Development is responsible for overseeing the foundation plant material production in Georgia. Since 1997, this effort has resulted in over $15 million of additional support for UGA cultivar development.

GSD works closely with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the University of Georgia Research Foundation and the Georgia Crop Improvement Association in supporting various research projects and in bringing new cultivars to market.

Georgia Seed Development has an active seed production program for most crops grown in the state including peanuts, soybeans, small grains, cotton, canola, blueberries and bahia grass.  Our programs maintain varietal identity and high seed quality as we increase seed quantities from a small amount of breeder seed to a sufficient volume of certified seed and plant stock for commercial crops. Quality factors such as purity, germination and freedom from noxious weeds are monitored during the certification process.

GSD also maintains foundation material of vegetatively propagated turfgrass and horticultural cultivars developed by the University of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service.

We manage the collection of licensing and royalty fees for cultivars developed by UGA.

GSD has an 11-member board and our operating funds are derived from seed and vegetative plant material sales as well as royalty collections.

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Kemerait Provides Update on Peanut Disease Research at UGA

kemeraitBob Kemerait, Extension specialist at the University of Georgia, focuses his research efforts on peanuts, as well as cotton, soybean and corn nematode diseases as well. “One of the most important things I work with is the peanut crop and fortunately for plant pathologist, but unfortunately for peanut growers in the Southeast, we have any number of disease and nematode problems,” Kemerait says.

In Kemerait’s Extension role, he cooperates with Tim Brenneman and Albert Culbreth, who coordinate the research projects. Kemerait works with them to get the results and information from the research to extension agents and farmers. Kemerait credits the Georgia Peanut Commission for sponsoring the research projects.

Some of the research focuses on the use of resistant varieties to minimize disease impact, use of fungicides and new improved fungicides, new modes of action coming out in fungicides and looking at ways we can fight nematodes. Kemerait does assist in the research, but his main job is to extend this information through our county agents to the growers so they can make better timely management decisions and hopefully stay profitable into the future.

Kemerait is excited to have the Georgia Peanut Tour visit the University of Georgia Southwest Georgia research and education center in Plains. Kemerait realizes that a lot of people around the country think of President Jimmy Carter when they think of peanuts and Plains, but he encourages individuals to also think about the agriculture research that happens in Plains.

Through Kemerait’s program, he coordinates research with graduate students at the University of Georgia. Recently he has been working to study the impact of production practices on tomato spotted wilt virus. As recently as ten years ago, tomato spotted wilt virus could have been a threat to our industry and we’re seeing a resurgence now. One of the ways farmers fight tomato spotted wilt virus is to look at all the production factors, the planning date, the variety, the seeding rate, the use of in-furrow insecticides.

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Research Spotlight on Replanting Decisions

Scott Tubbs, cropping systems agronomist with the University of Georgia in Tifton, Georgia, focuses his research efforts on peanut agronomic research. He initiated several trials to assess replant decisions in peanuts. Through his research he is assessing what is the original plant population and at what point does it trigger a replant decision for a farmer based on that original plant population. He has tried several different methods of replanting that could include replanting by planting next to the original row or wiping out the original row completely and just starting over with an entire new replant for the full field being a maximum seeding rate.

In one trial in Tifton, Georgia, Tubbs has a replant trial where he is only replanting the initial gap in the field by forcing a two foot, four foot or six foot gap in the row where the original plants were pulled out of the ground and then replanting that either in that gap or replanting the entire row. This can make it easier on the equipment and the driver to not have to assess where the gaps occur but the final phase of this project will be to hopefully use equipment where Tubbs can assess the gaps in the row while the machinery is moving through the field and only replant the sections of row that need to be replanted based on the research that he has for yield drag, for a length of gap and the potential to improve grade as well.

The replant trials have multiple phases and locations including one in Plains, Georgia at the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center. The research projects in Plains this year are in phase 2 where they are assessing only the yield drag alone in the length of gap. In those trials, Tubbs has one foot, two foot and three foot gaps in the row after the initial planting by forcing and pull thinning those plants out to force those gaps in the row and those gaps of one, two, and three foot occur either twice or three times in each 40-foot row. So essentially, the plots end with nine feet out of 40 feet of row missing from the field or roughly very close to a 25 percent stand decline from what the original plant stand could be, but that research by itself does not assess the replant decision.

That’s where our phase three project comes into play in Tifton this year where we are not only removing the gaps but we’re also replanting the gaps in the gap alone or with a full row replant so there are multi phases to this project that occur over time and in multiple locations, Tubbs says. The ultimate goal of this research is to help farmers assess a plant stand in the field and determine whether that plant stand is either uniform enough to leave alone or if it is spotty enough to require a replant decision, to helping them improve either yield or grade or hopefully both.

The research by Tubbs goes into more than just replant decisions. Some of his work focuses on rotations, how many years between peanut and how does that affect the plant when it grows in the field. Shorter rotations have a tendency to increase disease and nematode issues on peanut and can cause issues with herbicide resistance with weeds. Tubbs is also focusing some of his research on inoculants and inoculate formulations, when to use inoculants, how much benefit do we get from inoculants either in short rotations versus long rotations. He has also focused some research effort on tillage research conservation or conventional tillage research and seeding rates.

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Research Opportunities Abound at the Southwest Georgia Research & Education Center

swgaresearchandeducationcentersignThe Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center lies in the upper Coastal Plain near Plains, Georgia. The 512-acre center was established in 1951, when local citizens deeded 453 acres to Sumter County and later to the University System Board of Regents. The station’s purpose was to stimulate the depressed rural economy by helping area farmers diversify and increase crop yields.

The site was selected because of its heavy red clay soil, which is predominant in this region of the state. It is difficult soil to farm, but can be highly productive when carefully managed. Research here is geared to the 240-day growing season and average annual rainfall of 48 inches. Nine full-time employees maintain research for UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers.

Current research focuses on every major row crop in south Georgia, including peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, wheat, canola, peaches, watermelons and pecans. Animal scientists use the station’s 80-head cow-calf herd to conduct breeding and forage studies. The addition of irrigation in the mid-1980s made it possible to maintain crops during the area’s frequent droughts.

View 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Food Safety is a Priority in the Peanut Industry

Food safety was a primary topic during the Georgia Peanut Tour Hot Topics seminar. Attendees were able to hear updates from researchers at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus and from JLA USA.

Anand Mohan, UGA researcher, focused his presentation of FSMA and its effects on peanut processing. Food facilities are required to register with FDA under sec. 415 of the FD&C Act. The researchers at Griffin Campus are working to provide food facilities assistance with a food safety plan, preventive controls, management responsibility and principles of equipment design.
View Anand Mohan’s presentation.

In addition to learning about new regulations, attendees were able to learn about some of the peanut related food safety issues from Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety. According to Diez-Gonzalez, there are different type of foodborne diseases in foods ranging from intoxications, infections and sensitivies. The peanut’s main food safety risks are allergies, mycotoxins and salmonella.
View Francisco Diez-Gonzalez’s presentation.

The final presenter in the food safety panel, Jack Davis of JLA USA, presented information on managing aflatoxin in peanuts. Aflatoxin is a prominent class of mycotoxins which are a product of fungal growth and invisible to the human eye. The Food and Agricultural Organization estimates 25 percent of the World’s crops are contaminated by mycotoxins. Aflatoxin contaminates a range of important crops including corn, peanuts, cotton, rice, nuts, chiles and spices. The U.S. peanut industry has invested heavily over the past fifty plus years to miniize aflatoxin in the edible market.
View Jack Davis’s presentation.

View 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour photo album.

The Sustainable Peanut

img_7560Peanuts are a sustainable crop because of their nitrogen-fixing properties that benefit soil and other crops. Now researchers are recommending that farmers plant sod in rotation with peanuts to further improve the sustainability of the land, and the health of America’s favorite nut. During the Georgia Peanut Tour Hot Topics seminar, sustainability efforts of the peanut industry were presented to attendees.

David Prybylowski, sustainability consultant for the American Peanut Council, provided an update on the peanut industry’s initiatives regarding sustainability. According to Prybylowski, meeting the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs by increasing productivity, improving the environment and improving profitability for growers. Simply put, getting more peanuts from the same or less inputs.

Prybylowski shared a crop comparison water footprint of shelled peanuts versus shelled almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Shelled peanuts utilize 4.7 gallons of water per ounce while almonds use 80.4 gallons of water per ounce, walnuts use 73.5 gallons of water per ounce and pistachios use 16.8 gallons of water per ounce.

Even with this outstanding data on water usage, the peanut industry is still working towards measuring sustainability as the science continues to advance. In fact, Georgia has brought together farmers, researchers and other industry representatives in a pilot project through the Georgia Peanut Sustainability Initiative. According to Marshall Lamb, committee member of the Georgia Peanut Sustainability Initiative, the initiative plans to gather initial farm-level data on sustainability efforts to help provide data to better understand the efficiency, conservation and economic returns to producers. Additional projects include development of education and outreach programs to help peanut producers and continue to educate consumers with sustainability messaging.

For additional information on the sustainability efforts of the U.S. peanut industry click here.
View David Prybylowski’s presentation.
View Marshall Lamb’s presentation.

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Update on the 2017 Peanut Crop and Farm Bill


Scott Monfort – University of Georgia peanut agronomist

To kick off the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour attendees were able to learn more about the peanut crop and food safety during the Hot Topics Seminar Tuesday afternoon. During the seminar Scott Monfort, University of Georgia peanut agronomist, provided an update on the 2017 peanut crop. According to Monfort this is the third year that Georgia has had more than 700,000 acres planted to peanuts. For the 2017 crop, 828,000 acres were planted with a predicted yield of 4,600 lbs. per acre. However, the weather and other complications could have an impact on the final production for the year. The year 2017 did bring the longest planting season on record going from March 27 to July 5, according to Monfort.  However, some farmers did have poor stands due to weather and poor vigor of the crop, chemical injury, aspergillus crown rot, aspergillus flavus, nematode damage as well as damage from hogs and simple grower mistakes. Then recently farmers had to deal with Hurricane Irma. However, many farmers were able to pick their peanuts before the hurricane hit or the peanuts were still in the ground. However, farmers who also grow cotton or pecans had damage to those crops. Overall, Monfort says irrigated yields and quality so far have been above average. Some of the non-irrigated yields were impacted by the dry weather in August. However, time will only tell in the final outcome of the 2017 Georgia peanut crop.

View Scott Monfort’s presentation.

In addition to the crop update, Stanley Fletcher, director of the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness, provided an update on the farm bill discussions. According to Fletcher, many of the farm bill mark-ups will take place this fall and may be considered in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate at that time. However, it is too soon to know when the final bill will pass Congress. Fletcher also provided an update on the Representative Peanut Farms. The 22 farms across the U.S. provide Fletcher with information on the operating costs and other expenses on the farm. This data helps Fletcher provide an economic analysis on what will work or not work for peanut farmers across the U.S. in the farm bill.

View Stanley Fletcher’s presentation.

Welcome to the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour


Glen Harris – 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Chairman

Welcome to the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour. Whether this is your frrst time with us or you are a “Peanut Tour Veteran,” we are honored and privileged to have you join us again on our 31st annual tour. Like all of the previous peanut tours, you will be immersed in one of Georgia’s most important agricultural crops from the field to the manufacturer. We sincerely appreciate each of you for joining us on this exciting tour and hope, through the experience of this tour, you will understand and appreciate the heritage of peanut production in our state. Each of us engaged in the peanut industry – farmers, buyers, processors, researchers, Extension personnel, Georgia Peanut Commission representatives and everyone in between, are proud Georgia is the leading peanut producer in the United States, and we are all the more happy you could join us for the next three days as our special guests!

The 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour will kick off on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 19, with a “Hot Topics” symposium located at the Merry Acres Conference Center in Albany, Georgia. Expert speakers will address the current status of our peanut crop and also focus on the importance of University research in sustaining peanut production in Georgia. Symposium speakers will discuss recent innovations and research in peanut production, breeding, pest management, engineering, storage and handling, and processing.

Day two is jam-packed starting with a field visit to watch peanuts being dug and inverted. Then, on to a unique Georgia peanut experience, to visit and meet a former president of the United States of America at his childhood home; one of the most famous Georgia Peanut farmers ever, Jimmy Carter. From there, we will visit a University of Georgia experiment station, a seed peanut facility, a peanut buying point and a second field visit to see peanuts being picked after they have dried. On day three, we will visit the USDA National Peanut Lab and a key food safety company. And as always, we will eat well on the tour including Southern barbeque and a low country boil. In addition, you will hear directly from farmers and county agents at the field stops about the challenges they face and the solutions they adopt to produce a vibrant peanut crop. Further, you will hear from researchers and Extension faculty at UGA about their efforts to find innovative ways to aid farmers and improve peanut production. Most of this effort is funded through the Georgia Peanut Commission, which invests money from growers today for better production in the future.

Again, on behalf of the Peanut Tour Committee, made up of members from the USDA-ARS Peanut Lab, the Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia, we warmly welcome you to the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour! We hope, over the next few days, you will learn about the complexity of the peanut industry in Georgia and the personal commitments from all involved in producing the world’s finest peanuts! We hope our events will allow for fellowship and you enjoy Georgia’s renowned hospitality. We offer our sincere thanks to all the sponsors, who through their generosity, help make this tour possible.

31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour set for Sept. 19-21, 2017

gpt_logoThe thirty-first annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held Sept. 19-21, 2017, in Albany, Georgia, and the surrounding area. The tour brings the latest information on peanuts while giving a first-hand view of industry infrastructure from production and handling to processing and utilization. The tour is organized by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, USDA-ARS National Peanut Laboratory, and the Georgia Peanut Commission. Each year, the tour brings nearly 200 attendees from all over the United States and abroad to learn and see first-hand the level of technology involved in producing high-quality peanuts in Georgia. The tour committee is working on the schedule for 2017 so stay tuned for more updates, registration information and a tour schedule in the future.

For more information, contact Hannah Jones at or call at 229-386-3475.

2017 Tour Schedule
Maps & Driving Directions – Wed., Sept. 20 and Thurs., Sept. 21
Print registration form
View Sponsorship Packet

The Grimes Family – A meticulous, high-yield crop farmer

Tga-foty14-philip-grimeshe first stop on the Georgia Peanut Tour for Thursday morning featured the Grimes family farm in Tifton, Ga. Philip and Andrew Grimes visited with attendees about their family farm. Both Philip and Andrew have been honored with awards through the years for their efficient production of peanuts and farming in general.

A meticulous, high-yield crop farmer, Philip is admired as one of the best farmers in South Georgia. He has been recognized on the state level for producing high peanut yields for more than 20 consecutive years. A conservation farmer, he uses cover crops and has installed grassed waterways, terraces, and ponds on his land.

Grimes has farmed for 37 years. He grows peanuts, cotton, cantaloupes, broccoli, snap beans and corn on his 2,210-acre farm. As a result of his high peanut yields, he has been a longtime member of the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club. He also raises high-yield cotton, and his produce crops are consistently high in quality. He plants a portion of his land specifically to attract wildlife.

As a result of his success as crop farmer, Grimes was selected as the 2014 Georgia winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award and named the overall winner during the 2014 Sunbelt Ag Expo. He was chosen Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award.


His irrigated per acre yields include 6,440 pounds of peanuts from 660 acres, 1,405 pounds of cotton from 890 acres, 6,500 cantaloupes from 360 acres, 600 boxes of broccoli from 90 acres, 8,500 pounds of snap beans from 105 acres and 265 bushels of corn from 100 acres.

Grimes keeps detailed farming records, and has since he began farming. “I have records on planting dates, yields, rotations, sprays, varieties, fertilizers, and I note what works and what doesn’t work,” Grimes says.

“I know the fields I farm well, for instance, which ones need more potassium fertilizer,” he adds. Splitting fertilizer applications is just one practice he uses that pays off, especially during years when heavy rains can leach fertility from the root zone.

His farm has 45 center pivots for irrigation, and he has ponds holding some 150 acres of water. He also uses global positioning guidance on his tractors. “This innovation has improved our planting and harvesting,” he adds.

His farm benefits from extensive cover crops. He especially likes rye as a cover. “Soil fertility is often higher after rye,” Grimes says. He also notes that following crops put out roots that follow the same channels in the soil established by the rye roots.


He has invested in a peanut shelling plant and buying point, along with cantaloupe packing facilities. The peanut facility shells 35,000 tons yearly for the edible market. His cantaloupe facility provides grading, cooling and shipping for his crop. “We also repack on a limited basis for other individuals and businesses in other times of the year,” Grimes adds.

Grimes didn’t grow up on a farm. “My father died at age 36 when I was five years old,” he recalls. “I had a garden in my back yard, and at an early age, I knew I wanted to farm.” While in school, he spent his summer months working for others on farms. He got married in 1975 and worked at his father-in-law’s farm. He started growing more crops on his own after his father-in-law retired from farming.

In 1990, he became a partner with a friend, H.C. Dodson, who was looking to retire from farming. Dodson ran Docia Farms, the business Grimes now operates. His association with Dodson allowed Grimes to increase his acreage.

“My operation has continued to grow over the years,” he says. Dodson died seven years ago. He and Grimes shared a similar farming philosophy. For instance, they fertilized for high yields. With irrigation, they made sure their crops never suffered from lack of water. They also were timely in applying products such as fumigants, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides that would help insure high yielding and high quality crops.

At the state level, he attends the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club seminars. He is also active in Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Association. He is a past member of the Georgia Agribusiness Council. In addition to the Georgia Peanut Tour, he has also hosted visits by members of the U.S. Congress and many other tours at his farm.


Philip and his late wife, Jane, have three children, daughters Mandy and Brandi and son Andrew. Both Andrew and Mandy’s husband Gator Walker work full time on the farm. Philip says they are part of a very dependable work force.

Andrew received the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award from the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF in 2015 and has been nominated as one of the state finalists for the 2016 Georgia Young Farmer’s Association Farm Family Award.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.