The Georgia Peanut Tour visited Sasser 520 Peanut Buying Point so attendees could learn more about the first point of delivery for peanuts after harvest. Farmers haul their peanuts in wagons or semi trailers to the buying point. Prior to delivery the farmer tags the load in the field. The tag contains the producer’s name, farm and variety information.
Once at the buying point the peanuts are dryed in the wagons and then a sample is removed from the wagon for grading. The grading is handled by the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service. The peanuts are stored in warehouses and then hauled to shellers for additional processing.
The Georgia Peanut Tour visited the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga. This lab was established in 1965 for the purpose of improving farming practices. Since that time, scientists have studied a variety of factors involved in peanut production from better planting practices to better irrigation practices. Scientists have also researched ways to improve harvesting methods, storage methods, and the better use of environmental and financial resources.
Dr. Marshall Lamb, research leader and location coordinator at the National Peanut Research Laboratory, says, “We are one of the only USDA ARS labs that is solely dedicated to peanut research. Here at the lab we are developing technology for the end users.”
The NPRL has four different main projects that they work under. One of those is a cropping systems unit where we look at crop rotations and irrigation. Secondly, NPRL has an engineering unit that Dr. Chris Butts is the lead on where researchers look at ways to improve efficiency and quality in the post harvest sector. NPRL also focuses efforts on chemistry, genetics, and molecular biology where researchers are looking at natural defense mechanisms for peanuts but also ways to improve drought tolerance, and to come out with improved varieties for the industry.
NPRL will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this November. Through 50 years of research, scientists at the lab have created a tremendous amount of technology that is being used in the industry today. Originally, the focus at NPRL was on engineering and aflatoxins. However, over the years scientists have migrated to look at cropping systems type work and irrigation scheduling. Researchers at NPRL actually developed the Irrigator Pro scheduling system for managing the timing and amount of irrigation in peanuts. Researchers also developed Whole Farm which is a planning system that incorporates rotation data to help growers make better decisions on what to plant in the field for profit maximization.
Within the engineering unit at NPRL, Dr. Butts has done a lot of storage work both farmer stock storage and shelf stock storage. The research has actually changed the way the industry is looking at storing peanuts to maintain quality throughout storage. NPRL scientists are also looking at drought resistance projects with our cooperative breeding program with Auburn University. The program is showing a lot of promise with some of the cultivar lines that are showing drought resistance and will be available soon for farmers.
Dr. Renee Arias is working on ways to break the aflatoxin synthesis pathway and she has done an amazing amount of work on that area so that one day, we can hopefully eliminate aflatoxin contamination in peanuts. Her success has actually led to her receiving the Presidential Early Career Scientist of the Year Award a few years ago. Dr. Sobolev and Dr. Massa are working on looking at ways to increase phytoalexin production in peanuts which is a natural defense mechanism such that when a pathogen invades a peanut, it will be stronger and able to resist it better.
The Georgia Peanut Tour attendees learned about the research conducted by University of Georgia Peanut Team members while touring the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia. Albert Culbreath, research plant pathologist at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, focuses his research on leaf spot diseases caused by a couple different fungi and tomato spotted wilt virus on peanuts. According to Culbreath, his research includes a variety of integrated management principles to try to take care of all those diseases as efficiently and economically as possible.
Culbreath coordinates research on resistant varieties and works with multiple breeding programs trying to develop better resistance to the tomato spotted wilt virus and leaf spot diseases. His research focuses on cultural practices and timing of planting that would affect both the leaf spot and the spotted wilt virus.
One of the things he spends a lot of time on especially with control of leaf spot diseases are fungicides. He says farmers are heavily dependent on fungicides for leaf spot control in peanuts. There are severe problems with resistance to about three classes of available fungicides. Through Culbreath’s research, he looks at different mixtures, timing, alterations and such that will give farmers the best performance of the fungicides that they have to use. That’s one of Culbreath’s main objectives for his work at the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia. He found a couple years ago that adding sulfur to several of the triazole fungicides that we depended upon and then last year adding sulfur to the Strobilurins fungicides greatly improves the efficiency with them even though we have resistance to those classes of fungicides.
Sulfur is a relatively safe and inexpensive addition and he has seen dramatic improvements in leaf spot control with that. So, in his tests in Plains this year, he is looking at different formulations of sulfur in combination with different fungicides that alone we don’t expect them to do that well. Through his research, he will see if adding sulfur to the fungicides helps to improve the control that we get from those fungicides.
The Georgia Peanut Tour attendees learned about the research conducted by University of Georgia Peanut Team members while touring the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia. Scott Tubbs, UGA cropping systems agronomist, discussed some of his research projects focusing on seeding rates when planting. Most of his work focuses on peanut agronomic research, but he also does additional work in cropping systems related to rotations that are built around peanuts and other major crops that are grown in our systems.
He conducts research at multiple locations throughout the state so that the research is representative of all growing areas across the state. Research is conducted at the University of Georgia Southwest Research and Education Center in Plains, the Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, the Attapulgus Research and Education Center in the Southwest corner of Georgia and the UGA Tifton Campus. So his research covers the entire state, lots of different soil and climate types to test our trials in multiple different soils and different weather pattern conditions.
The research trial he is conducting at the Plains Research and Education Center is a grow pattern and seeding rate treatment effect on six different cultivars of peanuts. He is testing six different varieties that were bred in four different programs from our public breeding institutions which include: University of Georgia, Auburn University, University of Florida, and the USDA ARS Breeding Programs. This trial is looking at twin row versus single row peanut using three different seeding rates of 5, 6 and 7 seed per foot for each one of those varieties.
In years past, he has conducted some similar research and noticed that the twin row row pattern will support a slightly higher seeding rate than the single row row pattern for maximizing yield potential. Results have shown that farmers can sometimes actually reduce their seeding rate a little bit lower in single row without losing yield potential. However, farmers may run into potentially some tomato spotted wilt virus interactions by reducing seeding rate at certain times of the year with certain varieties that are more susceptible to that virus.
Tour attendees visited the farm of Sedrick Rowe in Americus, Georgia, to learn more about organic peanut production. Rowe is a first-generation farmer who started growing organic peanuts two years ago. He is currently growing 12 acres of organic peanuts in Americus and 12 acres of organic peanuts in Dougherty County, Georgia. He grows corn for his rotation crop and grows rye and wheat for a cover crop. Rowe planted the peanut variety Georgia-12Y this year. He currently markets his peanuts through a combined effort with other organic growers through the Georgia Organic Peanut Association. Some of the organic peanuts are sold to Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter.
Sedrick Rowe, organic peanut farmer in Americus, Georgia.
Rowe says the main issues he has faced with growing organic peanuts is weed control with the limited amount of chemicals he can use. Attendees on the tour were able to view Rowe’s field and see some of the morningglory weed that Rowe had issues with this year. Rowe uses a Kubota M7060 tractor, a rolling cultivator to loosen the soil and help control weeds and weed wiper. He also hand pulls some of the weeds in the field. He also uses a two-row peanut digger at harvest. This year he is purchasing a peanut combine from Ag Pro in Blakely to harvest his peanuts.
Organic peanut field.
Founded in 2019, the Georgia Organic Peanut Association (GOPA) is a farmer-owned cooperative incorporated in the state of Georgia to market USDA Certified Organic peanuts and other agricultural products. The cooperative’s small farmers come from across the state and have almost 50 years of combined experience growing organic crops. The organization is committed to bringing added value to established farming operations and to creating new opportunities for small and beginning producers in the region.
Organic peanuts in Georgia are sold through a combined partnership to Georgia Grinders.
In 2018, with financial support from the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement and the Bradley-Turner Foundation, Georgia Organics led a one-year project to develop a supply chain and marketplace around Certified Organic peanuts that could support small farmers.
The Georgia Peanut Tour kicked off with a Hot Topics Seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Lake Blackshear Golf Resort in Cordele. During the seminar Scott, Monfort, University of Georgia Extension Peanut Agronomist. According to Monfort the 2019 peanut crop pretty much the same as most years but the weather is not what you would consider a normal
year. Georgia growers planted approximately 650,000 acres of peanuts in 2019. At the beginning of the season, farmers started out in a good situation where they had plenty of moisture and heat to get the peanuts planted earlier than the last couple of
years. Then the weather changed and farmers ran out of moisture real quick and the weather turned hot. The temperatures soared to 90+ degrees and the middle to latter part of May all the way through today. We’ve had a tremendous amount of 90 degree temperatures all the way through the growing season this year with a limited amount of moisture. We did get moisture but it was pretty limited for the most part.
So when you start to look at the crop this year, there’s several things participants will notice on the tour. The irrigated peanuts which are about 50% of our peanuts look above average, because again they had the heat to push the crop but they also had the moisture. You can put on the moisture at any given moment during that period. Where we have problems that we are worried about right now is the non-irrigated crop and in any given year, we talk about how Mother Nature can throw a curve ball at us, in pockets or regions of Georgia but this year its all over. There have been some areas that received moisture at the right times and so there are some non irrigated crops that look just as good as irrigated crops. But, when you look at the average of non irrigated crop, it’s going to be below what we typically like to see yield and quality wise.
Georgia farmers have had problems with tomato spotted wilt virus, as well as, lesser corn salt borers and diseases. We are dealing with that and that’s going to cause some problems but overall the hot dry conditions is the major issue that we are dealing with.
Farmers are in the harvest season right now, it is the second week of September. We have been digging and harvesting peanuts for approximately a week a half now. Some of those are because we planted earlier, and we were able to mature those out and needed to come out of the ground to be harvested. A lot of those especially the irrigated crop looks pretty good. They are yielding very well as well as grading well – the quality is good at this time. As far as the non irrigated crop, farmers were able to save some of that crop by digging early because it did not put on any more peanuts beyond a certain period. So, they are digging those peanuts as well.
The Hot Topics Seminar provided tour attendees with an overview of peanut production. Attendees learned from specialists with the University of Georgia Peanut Team regarding topics on land preparation, seed selection, planting, soil nutrition and fertilizer applications, plant growth physiology, insect management, disease management, maturity and harvest decisions.
Download the Hot Topics Seminar presentations below:
We would like to welcome each of you to the 2019 Georgia Peanut Tour. Whether this is your first time with us or you are a “Peanut Tour Veteran,” we are very happy to host you on our 33rd annual tour. As in previous years, you will be immersed in the production efforts of one of Georgia’s most important agricultural crops and we hope this gives you better insight not only into the challenges our farmers face, but also reasons why we say that the world’s best peanuts are produced in Georgia. It is our hope that you will come to better understand and appreciate the heritage of peanut production in our state. Those engaged in the peanut industry, including farmers, buyers, processors, researchers, Extension personnel, and Georgia Peanut Commission representatives, are proud that Georgia is the leading peanut producing state in the United States and we are excited to share this year’s crop with you.
The 2019 Georgia Peanut Tour is staged in the central region of our state’s production area and begins on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 17, with a “Hot Topics” symposium. Expert speakers will address the current status of our peanut crop and provide a special focus on peanut production practices. UGA researchers will discuss topics including planting, soil nutrition, physiology, insects, diseases, maturity and harvest decision.
The next two days of the tour provide you an opportunity to learn more about production, research, processing and more. Field visits will provide you with a glimpse of conventional and organic peanut production, harvest and precision agriculture at the farm of Sed Rowe in Americus, Chase Farms in Oglethorpe and Dawson Brothers Farm in Hawkinsville, Georgia. University of Georgia and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers will provide you with updates on groundbreaking research projects they have at the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, as well as the USDA National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Georgia. The tour also includes visits down the supply chain to Sasser 520 Peanut Buying Point where attendees will have an opportunity to learn how peanuts are graded, cleaned, dried, and stored in warehouses. Attendees will also tour Agri AFC in Cordele, Golden Peanut and Tree Nut sheller and Nolin Steel in Ashburn and Hardy Farms Peanut Boiling Facility in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
Again, on behalf of the Peanut Tour Committee, with members from the USDA-ARS Peanut Lab, the Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia, I warmly welcome you to the 33rd annual Georgia Peanut Tour! We hope that over the next few days you will better appreciate 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 that you enjoy Georgia’s hospitality exploring a beautiful, rural part of our state. We offer our sincere thanks to all the sponsors, who through their generosity, help make this tour possible. Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can help you as we travel the highways and byways of our state’s production area. We are proud of our peanut farmers and our peanut industry; we are happy that we can share them with you.
The thirty-third annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 17-19, 2019, in Cordele, 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. Tour stops will be made in several peanut producing counties surrounding Cordele.
Attendees can expect to see first-hand nearly every aspect of peanut production in the state. This year’s tour hosts many exciting stops including on-farm harvest demonstrations and clinics, as well as, research at the University of Georgia Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center.
The Georgia Peanut Commission, University of Georgia-Tifton Campus and Griffin Campus, Southwest Research & Education Center, Attapulgus Research & Education Center, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Peanut Research Lab coordinate the tour.
Registration will be opening soon. For sponsorship infomation, contact Hannah Jones at email@example.com or call at 229-386-3470.
* Update – the host hotel, Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club is currently full. An overflow of rooms are available at Comfort Inn in Cordele, Ga. Rooms can be booked by calling 229-273-7117 and asking for the Georgia Peanut Tour rate. Buses will depart from the Comfort Inn each morning of the tour and return following the evening meal.