Day two of the Georgia Peanut Tour began at Mr. John Harrell’s farm in Grady County. Harrell and his brother, Tommy along with his son, Douglas, farm approximately 10 miles north of Whigham, Georgia. Harrell and his brother are 6th generation farmers on their family’s land and have been farming together for 40 years. Together on their farm, the Harrells raise cattle and grow approximately 300 acres of peanuts and nearly 1,000 acres of cotton.
During the tour visit, attendees got a chance to see dryland peanuts at 114 days old. These peanuts had received approximately eight inches of rain from planting through the month of July. In August, they received around one inch and since Sept. 5, they had received more than three inches.
Harrell attributed the “cleanliness” of the field to timeliness of herbicide application.This field, along with most of the peanuts planted on the Harrells’ farm, is planted in single rows. Unlike some farmers, Harrell prefers single row when compared to twin rows; he believes it works better for them. Overall, roughly half of the Harrells’ peanut crop is irrigated and half is dryland. Also, GPS technology is not used on their farm.
John Harrell is an advisory board member at the Georgia Peanut Commission and the representing member from Georgia for the National Peanut Board. He also serves as the chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Peanut Commodity Committee. Harrell is on the research committee for both GPC and NPB and commented on the research dollars contributed on behalf of Georgia peanut growers. “Georgia farmers are funding their research at approximately $1.2 million per year,” Harrell said. Funding from GPC is approximately $300,000 per year and NPB funding is approximately $800,000 per year.
According to Brian Hayes, UGA extension agent, Grady County is mostly dryland. Approximately 25 percent of the farmland is irrigated. Historically, farmers in Grady County have grown between 6,000 and 8,000 acres of peanuts. In 2015, there is approximately 10,000-12,000 acres of peanuts planted. When compared to neighboring counties, the field sizes in Grady County are much smaller.
View the video below for an interview with John Harrell about his peanut crop.