The Georgia Peanut Tour visited Lasseter Implement Company in Hazlehurst, Ga. to learn more about the equipment farmers use to produce quality peanuts and the investments made by each farmer when purchasing the equipment. University of Georgia economist Nathan Smith presented information on a farmer’s investment and operating costs for peanut equipment. According to Smith, if a farmer purchases a tractor (200 hp, 4 Wheel Drive), six-row digger, four-row combine and peanut dump cart their total investment is approximately $325,000. This is a large investment for a farmer since the only piece of equipment, the tractor, can be used with other crops. If a farmer is growing 300 acres then they would need $532 per ton on irrigated peanuts and $567 per ton on non-irrigated peantus to breakeven and be able to pay for the equipment. The same farmer growing 300 acres would need to yield 4,920 pounds per acre on irrigated peanuts and 3,825 on non-irrigated peanuts to breakeven and be able to pay for the equipment.
So, how many acres of peanuts does a farmer need to grow to be able to pay for this equipment?
• Assuming a 3,700 lb/ac yield and a price of $400/ton, a farmer would need to grow 935 acres of peanuts
• If they combine 20 ac/day, it will take 47 days to combine 935 acres
Stanley Fletcher, University of Georgia ag economist and director of the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness, provided an overview on the tour regarding peanut production across the U.S. According to the September 11, 2009, crop production report by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service peanut production is forecast at 3.68 billion pounds, down 29 percent from 2008. For 2009 planting was delayed by several weeks due to wet weather during the month of May. During this past year with the farmers checkoff money in organizations like the Georgia Peanut Commission and the National Peanut Board, we did not see the drop in peanut butter usage as one would have predicted due to the salmonella recall, Fletcher says. These checkoff organizations were able to help with marketing efforts and promoting peanuts and peanut butter.
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Assistant Dean of Extension Steve Brown attended the Georgia Peanut Tour this year. He has served in the past on the organizing committee of the tour when he worked as the peanut entomologist for UGA. Dr. Brown says the tour is well known throughout the country and the world as the best place to learn about peanuts. The tour is held annually in the fall prior to peanut harvest. So, viewers of the blog should check back often to see when the date and location is set for the 2010 Georgia Peanut Tour.
After a farmer harvests his peanuts he hauls them to a local buying station. Once at the buying station, peanuts are sampled and graded by the Federal State Inspection Service to determine their value. The inspectors establish the meat content, size of pods, kernel size, moisture content, damaged kernels and foreign material. The results of the inspection determine the overall quality and value of each load. View this video to learn more about the grading process.
The Georgia Peanut Tour visited Southeastern Gin and Peanut in Surrency, Ga. During the visit attendees learned more about the buying point and how peanuts are graded. Southeastern Gin and Peanut began serving cotton farmers in 1995 and started serving peanut farmers in 2003, in cooperation with Golden Peanut Company. Roger Branch with Southeastern Gin & Peanut explains more about the company in the video below.
In Jeff Davis county, peanut farmer Will Ellis and County Extension Agent Tim Varnedore, worked together on a dryland peanut variety research trial. This research is one of several on-farm research trials sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commisison. The peanut varieties in the test include Georgia Green, Georgia Greener, Georgia O6G, Georgia O7W, Georgia O2C, Florida O7, Tifguard and AP4. In the video below Tim details more information regarding the on-farm trial.
The Georgia Peanut Tour stopped in Jeff Davis County at the farm of Will Ellis. Tim Varnedore, Jeff Davis County Extension Coordinator, met with the attendees regarding peanut prouduction in the area. He says the peanut crop looks very good in this stage of production. Jeff Davis farmers planted 6,865 acres of peanuts in the county this season and there is an estimated 10,290 tons estimated to be produced. Fifty-five to sixty percent of peanuts were planted on irrigated land in Jeff Davis County. Farmers have had problems in handling pigweeds and armyworms and the heavy early season rain fall have haltered production overall. Jeff Davis County also grows cotton (17,429 acres), soybeans (3,928 acres), corn (3,355 acres), and tobacco (301 acres).
Scott Angle, dean of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences attended the tour again this year. Here is an update from him on the college and the importance of the Georgia Peanut Tour.
The Georgia Peanut Tour host city this year is Douglas, Ga. Agriculture is very important to the economy in Coffee County. Eddie McGriff, Coffee County Extension Coordinator, says the peanut crop in the county looks very good although it all depends on the weather since they have such a late crop. Out of the 15,400 acres of peanuts planted in 2009, there is an estimated production rate of 25,410 tons. Farmers in Coffee County have to face production issues such as excessive rains during planting, which resulted in a very late planted crop, controlling pigweeds, and low prices. 40% of peanuts planted in the county are irrigated. Coffee County also grows cotton, corn, soybeans, blueberries, and hay.
The 23rd Annual Georgia Peanut 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 Hot Topics Seminar on Tuesday will include food safety experts discussing production practices, quality management, outbreak investigations, and more. The tour includes visits at farmers’ fields, research plots, a buying point, Federal- State inspection, an equipment dealer, a weather network station, and a shelling and storage facility as well as a peanut blanching facility. Demonstrations of determining optimum peanut maturity and an innovative new technology for evaluating pod moisture will also be observed.
Scott Tubbs, University of Georgia cropping systems agronomist, is serving as the 2009 chairman of the Georgia Peanut Tour.