At this stop, tour attendees were able to see a different aspect of peanut farming compared to previous stops. Vic Fleet, owner of Rolling Hills Farm, Inc., located in Colquitt, Georgia, plants green peanuts for boiling. A boiled peanut, botanically, is like a regular peanut. However, boiled peanuts are harvested earlier when they are still immature, and they are then boiled and soaked in salt water. The handling of green peanuts is completely different than that of a commercial grown peanut. A green peanut is a perishable product, and if not dried or frozen, will start rotting from the moment it is harvested.
Once the green peanuts have been picked, they are taken to be washed, put into crates and then refrigerated until they are boiled, frozen or processed. Fleet has been in the green peanut business for about 10 years now. His peanuts are sold for $1.00 per pound and in 40 pound crates for $40.00. Vic begins to plant his green peanuts in April, which is earlier than commercial peanuts. On Fleet’s farm, he plants GA 11, which is a Virginia variety. This variety is a larger nut and is easier to get out of the shell. Fleet plants an average of 250 acres of peanuts, which he sells commercially. He uses 12 of those acres for his green boiling peanut business.
Of course, after all the talk about these delicious green boiled peanuts, tour attendees were treated with this wonderful southern staple. Many of the attendees had never tried boiled peanuts before.
Brock Ward, Miller County Extension agent, told the group that one quarter of everything that comes through Miller County is centered around peanuts.
Dow AgroSciences is a tremendous supporter of the tour by preparing the low country boil for attendees every year.
Peanut tour attendees were able to relax and enjoy some southern hospitality after a full day of peanut education. This year, tour attendees were treated to the traditional low-country boil and friendly fellowship the Georgia Peanut Tour has to offer at Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia. Pebble Hill Plantation originated when Melville Hanna acquired the property in 1896. In 1901, the plantation was given by Melville to his daughter, Kate. This is where Pebble Hill Plantation’s story begins.
With its relaxed order and sense of timelessness, Pebble Hill puts everyone immediately at ease and invites a closer inspection of the plantation and its former occupants. Gracious and vital with the South’s rich traditions, Pebble Hill is a home rich in both art and history. The overall impression one receives from this remarkable plantation is more felt than defined.
This low country boil tradition is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences. Marvin Stewart, regional sales rep. with Dow AgroSciences, has attended all 29 peanut tours and sponsored the low-country boil every year. Supper was finished up with a variety of peanut butter flavored ice-cream. This year the tour boasted more than 180 attendees from 14 states and 2 countries including Canada and Africa.
Glenn Heard is a third generation farmer from Brinson, Georgia. He farms in Seminole and Decatur counties. On his farm, he grows wheat, milo, corn, cotton, peanuts, sweet corn and carrots. The peanuts on Glenn Heard’s farm are mostly irrigated and he plants the GA O6-G variety along with a few High-Oleic and FloRunner 107. Problems Heard faced on his farm this 2015 growing season included insects such as nematodes, and diseases like white mold and leaf spot. The weather was also an issue this season, which has put him behind on his harvesting schedule.
While visiting the Heard farm, attendees were able to see peanuts being harvested and loaded into wagons. Most of the equipment Heard uses is driven via GPS. This allows for their farming practices to stay accurate and to do a better job. In the beginning of the season they spread lime and fumigates by GPS, which allows them to vary the rates across the fields, then they can plant in straight rows. Heard says during digging it is critical to stay within a couple of inches of the rows in order to minimize loss.
Also at this stop, Rome Ethredge, Seminole County Extension Agent, explained to tour attendees how to determine maturity in peanuts using a Peanut Profile Board. The board is color coded from lighter to darker colors so researchers and extension agents can separate them via color on the chart to determine the number of days until maturity.
Peanut tour attendees were able to wind down after two full days of peanut education, and what better way to do so than being treated to the traditional low-country boil and friendly fellowship the Georgia Peanut Tour has to offer. This year the low-country boil, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, was hosted at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga. The “Bamboo Farm” as many locals call it got its name from the historic bamboo groves and trees planted in the early 20th century.
Historically, it was a USDA plant introduction station, starting in 1919. Today, this newly developing regional botanical garden contains 51 acres of historic plants, ornamental gardens, lakes, farm buildings, and pick-your-own berry fields. What was once a USDA plant introduction station is now becoming a complete botanical garden and horticulture showplace for residents and visitors to the area. Marvin Stewart, regional sales rep. with Dow AgroSciences, has attended all 28 peanut tours and sponsored the low-country boil every year. Supper was finished up with a variety of ice-cream including peanut butter.
This year the tour boasted 170 attendees from 15 states and 4 countries including Canada, Malawi, Paraguay and Australia. The representatives from Malawi presented the tour committee with some homemade gifts.
Even though the Georgia Peanut Tour did not travel through Jenkins or Jefferson County this year, an update was provided by local county extension agents. Both agents demonstrated how farmers determine maturity through the peanut profile board. Wade Parker, Jenkins County Extension agent, showed attendees how farmers pod-blast their peanuts before placing the sample of the maturity profile board. He says, knowing when to dig peanuts can mean the difference between loosing and gaining 200 lbs. per acre. The pod-blasting process is a good method in mitigating peanut losses.
Parker, updated tour attendees on agricultural production in Jenkins County. Parker stated the major crops grown in Jenkins County are cotton, soybeans, corn and of course peanuts, where they planted roughly 5,550 acres this year. “The most troublesome issue for farmers this season would have to be the dry weather the latter part of July and first of August,” Parker says. “Spider mites are a major problem in peanuts. Most farmers are hoping for a timely harvest operation in order to avoid a costly treatment” he adds. Thirty-five percent of the counties peanuts were irrigated compared to 65 percent that were dryland.
Pam Sapp, Jefferson County Extension agent
Pam Sapp, Jefferson County Extension agent, also provided an update on Jefferson County. The county has a total of 6,500 acres of peanuts planted this season with an estimated production of 3,600 lbs. Jefferson County mainly plants cotton, corn, soybeans and peanuts. Peanuts in this county are 40 percent irrigated and 60 percent dryland. According to Sapp, the most troublesome issues farmers have faced in this area have been lack of rainfall and a late season.
Following the visit to Joe Boddiford’s farm in Screven County, Georgia, tour attendees headed to the University of Georgia Southeast Research and Education Center in Burke County, Georgia. At the research centers many of the members of the UGA Peanut Team provided information on research they conduct at the center involving pest management to disease control. Also, attendees learned more about how farmers tell when their peanuts are ready for harvest from local county Extension agents.
Cotton, corn and peanuts are the major crops produced in Burke County with a peanut crop production estimated to reach roughly 38,250-39,000 tons. Burke County planted between 16,000 and 18,000 acres of peanuts this growing season. “Thrips, spider mites, foliage feeding pest, nematodes, white mold and lack of rain were some troubles farmers faced this season,” says Peyton Sapp, Burke County extension coordinator.
Sapp also presented a peanut maturity demonstration to tour attendees.
After two full days of peanut education , peanut tour attendees were treated to a tasteful low- country boil and friendly fellowship at Quail Branch Lodge in Lake Park , Ga. sponsored by Dow AgroSciences,
Marvin Stewart, regional sales rep. with Dow AgroSciences, has attended all 27 peanut tours and has cooked for every year. Supper was finished up with three different kinds of ice cream samples including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate with Peanut Butter swirls and Snickers ice cream.
Chris Butts, peanut tour committee chairman, recognized Emory Murphy, with the Georgia Peanut Commission and Dr. John Beasley, with the University of Georgia for attending all 27 tours. Murphy and Beasley will both be retiring at the end of this year. We would like to thank each of them for their hard work and dedication to the Georgia Peanut Tour. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
After leaving R.L Cunningham’s, tour attendees loaded up and traveled south to Birdsong Peanuts in Lee, Fla. This Birdsong location is a direct buying point for the farmers. Attendees had the opportunity to view Birdsong’s grading room, moisture room and storage room at the site. This facility is able to dry 52 loads of peanuts at one time with dryers reaching 95 degrees.
Gerald Garland, manager of the Southeast Birdsong location, said they have only graded three days so far this season. Twenty loads are needed before the grading process can begin. Due to the 40 inches of rain Madison County received in June, peanut farmers are a little behind and peanut grading is expected to begin full-force in roughly two weeks. This Birdsong location is also the only location that owns a farm, as well as a buying point. The Birdsong farm in Lee, Fla., produced 1,500 acres of peanuts last year.
Carl Hobbs, a crop consultant, was also at this stop. Here he talked about his contracts with farmers in Florida, Georgia and the lower half of Alabama and South Carolina. With these states, he does periodic checks of soil sample work and looks for new methods to improve the health of peanut plants. Along with Hobbs, Heath Herndon talked about visiting fields to look at moisture and disease levels to decide how to treat plants for diseases.
Dan Fenneman, Madison County extension agent, updated tour attendees on peanut acreage in Madison County. There are roughly 7,600 acres of peanuts planted in Madison County. Peanuts are among one of the main crops planted in this county along with corn and soybeans. Peanuts in this area are mostly irrigated as opposed to dry land. Rain has been a major issue with peanut production this year, as well as a fairly cool season, which has led to an early harvest. Farmers are now beginning to face a dry spell. Between 3,200 and 3,400 tons per acre is expected to be yielded this upcoming season.
Peanut Tour attendees wrapped up the first day of the tour tonight with some of the South’s finest traditions as they licked their fingers and sipped on sweet tea from Carter’s Catfish House in Adel, Ga. Carter’s Catfish House is locally-owned by Matt Carter who is known for his restaurant’s hospitality.
Albert Culbreath, with the University of Georgia, treated us all to some good ol’ pickin’ & grinnin’ before we sat down for supper. Attendees gathered around Culbreath to listen to him play the banjo on the front porch of the Catfish House as they casually drank and socialized.
Attendee’s were treated to fried chicken, fried catfish, home-style mashed potatoes, green beans… and of course grits. Wait, what’s a full supper without dessert? Supper was followed-up with some desserts that will make you go “nuts!” Mouthwatering peanut butter pie and nutter butter banana pudding was the talk of the night. After winding down from well-spent evening with good food, attendees will be gearing up for day 2 of the tour tomorrow morning at stop No. 1: DuPont.
Peanut season is the busiest time of year for everyone at Georgia Federal- State Inspection Services. Farmers are in demand to have their peanuts graded in time for market. Georgia FSIS inspects over 35 comedies, peanuts being the largest. Peanut Tour attendees had the opportunity to see how the Farmers’ Stock grading procedures work, view grading equipment and the grading process. Teresa Cox, supervisor of District 12, talked about the grade room procedures and the process for grading inspection for peanut seeds. She began by saying once they they obtain their peanut samples, peanuts are first poured onto a grader, which requires a minimum of 1,500 grams of peanuts. The peanuts then go into a foreign material machine which separates foreign material and LSK (lose shelled kernels). From this point, peanuts are taken from the scales to a pre-sizer, to a sheller and then to a moisture machine. Once the moisture machine has 250 grams, peanuts are then transported to a shaker to get rid of splits or immature kernels. They are then poured into a pan and hand-picked for anything that may have been missed before going through the splitter where they check for concealed damage and Aspergillus flavus mold.
Also at this stop, tour attendees got the chance to visit the Georgia Department of Agricultural Lab in Tifton, where they focused on the seed, fertilizer and feed section. This section administers the rules and regulations related to seeds, fertilizer and feeds by regulating labeling and quality standards for items for sale in Georgia. Mark McMillan, a representative with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, specifically focused on the feed and fertilizer of the tour where he talked about sulfur tests and Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), which are tests that determine which elements are in the fertilizers and which are absent. Scott Hobby, representative with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, talked more about the seed portion of the lab. The Georgia Department of Agriculture seed lab tests over 20,000 seeds annually, with 12,000 of them being peanut samples. Farmers have the ability to send seeds to the Department of Agriculture lab and have their seeds tested free of charge. Dee-Dee Smith, a seed analyst, then went over the daily routines of a a seed analyst who separates seed to make labes to go on seed bags before administered to the public. Seeds are separated into kind and variety before sold.
Dr. John Beasley with the University of Georgbia also treated tourist to HOT boiled peanuts donated by Albert Culbreath while they listened to him discuss the differences in the four main variates of peanuts and how to determine maturity in peanuts using a Peanut Profile Board. The board is colored coded from lighter colors to darker so researchers and extension agents can separate them via color on the chart to determine the number of days until maturity. Dr. Beasley also discussed the hull-scrape method and other ways to determine the maturity of peanuts and when they are ready to harvest.