Peanut Farming: A Family Tradition


Left to Right: Emanuel County Farmers Clay and Carl Hood; Mark Crosby, Emanuel County Extension Agent; Chris Hood, Emanuel County Farmer; John Harrison, Young Farmer Advisor

Purchased by Carl Hood and his wife in 1970 Canoochee Farms in Emanuel County has grown throughout the years. Clay Hood, one of five kids born into the Hood family now farms Canooche Farm alongside his dad and has done so for 25 years now. The Hood’s have 900 acres in cultivation as well a small beef cattle operation. Out of those 900 acres 300 of those are in peanuts and the rest are planted in cotton. According to Mark Crosby, Emanuel County Extension agent, Emanuel County is primarily a cotton-cotton-peanut rotation. The field peanut tour attendees were able to see on Canoochee Farms was a total of 226 acres. 175 of the 226 acres were irrigated and the rest were dryland.

The peanuts in this field had a plant date of May 3, 2018 and are at a 136-day maturity; weather permitting, the Hood’s will begin picking next Tuesday, September, 25. Carl and Clay plant the Georgia 09B variety peanuts which are a high oleic peanut, which means they have a higher oil content which is popular many candy manufactures. Another advantage the Hood’s see to planting this variety is they have a high resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. On their farm they also plant a cover crop of rye, which helps retain the moisture in the soil. Tour attendees also had the opportunity to take look at their harvesting equipment. The Hood’s harvest with an AMADAS self-propelled picker as well as a 6-roll pull type hoodspic1picker.


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Proper Peanut Rotations Can Have Positive Impact on Yields

As a research agronomist for the University of Georgia, Dr. Scott Tubbs conducts research in a lot of different areas and during the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Dr. Tubbs had an opportunity to present his research to the tour attendees. Some of that relates to cropping systems with rotations of peanuts and other crops. Farmers may have more success growing peanuts if they don’t continuously plant peanuts in the same field, and that is the message Dr. Tubbs is wanting to convey. Other crops that rotate very well with peanuts include corn and cotton and there’s about a million plus acres of cotton any given year, anywhere between 250,000 300,000 acres of corn any given year and this is about twice as much acreage as what we have in peanuts. “With a rotation on peanuts we usually recommend three years rotation, two years out of peanuts before we go back into peanuts the third year. The acreage of these rotation crops allows this except when we increase acreage of peanuts and decrease acreage of these other crops. It does put our rotation under pressure for shorter rotations which can cause additional disease and pest problems with weeds and insects as well”, says Dr. Tubbs. Peanuts do rotate well with other crops since it is a legume. Peanuts have a lot of nitrogen they can supply to other crops that are usually fertilized with nitrogen so peanuts are a good scavenger of nutrients by pulling those nutrients from deep in the soil profile by bringing those back to the surface.

“Once the peanut is harvested the remaining residue of peanut is left on the ground and will disintegrate and provide nutrients to the subsequent crops that are planted behind peanuts,” he continues. “Some of the research I am conducting this year include replant decisions for peanut and populations including gap situations where we force a stand gap where there are no plants growing just to assess the yield drag from having no populations in the field. We also conduct research on inoculants, different formulations and their interactions with other in furrow products that are placed in ground at planting. This year we initiated some trials on physical damage to peanuts to simulate hail damage or deer damage to peanuts and we are assessing different levels of damage by different timings of the crop just to assess how yield and grade will be affected at the end of season with these different damage levels with different timing.”

For more information on crop rotation, visit the UGA Extension publications by clicking here.

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Tour attendees hear from Dr. Scott Monfort at the Southeast Research and Education Center

Scott Monfort, peanut agronomist with  the University of Georgia  is one on many researchers conducting research at the Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia. At this particular research station here in east Georgia, Dr. Monfort conduct several different types of research trials. Two of the biggest ones he conducts here are cultivar or variety trial along with 10 different tillage trials. “We are growing those or conducting those for two different reasons,” he says. “One, we want to try to keep ahead as far as the information going out to the growers on any new varieties or production practices. The second thing is, we try to answer questions that the growers have.”

In this particular part of Georgia, tillage is a big problem for these growers because they have highly erodible soils. “What we try to do is look at the conventional tillage which most of Georgia does to produce peanuts compared to reduced tillage which a lot of growers in this area conduct. We are trying to make these comparisons to show these growers where they can save money but where they have to spend money to be productive. As far as the varieties, it’s the same thing. We try to showcase different varieties that are coming out that might do better in this region because it’s a different micro-climate there than it is in south west Georgia or other parts of Georgia where peanuts are grown. We try to look at what we can do to increase productivity of any grower throughout the state of Georgia and this area is important just like the southwest part of Georgia is. So, we try to do as much as we can for each grower throughout the state and all the research done here is looking at localized situations or trying to fix localized problems to increase productivity”, he continues. The Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville is one of many research facilities where UGA researchers conduct peanut research throughout the state of Georgia. There are research centers all over the state, but they do not produce peanuts at every single one, but peanuts are produced at a majority of the ones in the south.

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Take a Step Back in Time at Old Fort Jackson

Old Fort Jackson a restored 19th-century fort, was the last tour stop of day 2. This  fortification is located on the Savannah River, just 3 miles east of the city. It was constructed in 1808 as part of President Thomas Jefferson’s Second System coastal defense initiative and named after Revolutionary War patriot James Jackson. This brick fort was constructed over an old earthen battery from the Revolutionary War which had been called “Mud Fort.” Soldiers were stationed at Fort James Jackson to guard Savannah during the War of 1812. Following the War of 1812, two periods of construction continued expansion of the fort from the 1840s-1850s, prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War.ofj1

Local Confederate militia units occupied the fort at the start of the Civil War in 1861. In 1862, it became the headquarters for Savannah’s river defenses after the fall of Fort Pulaski. In 1864 the Confederate troops quickly evacuated Fort Jackson just prior to the arrival of federal troops under the leadership of General William Tecumesh Sherman after his infamous “March to the Sea,” leaving Fort Jackson under control of federal troops. The last American soldiers to be stationed at Fort Jackson were members of the 55th Massachusetts, an African- American unit of the Federal Army.

The War Department abandoned the fort in 1905 and the state of Georgia reopened it in 1965 as a maritime museum. After the state decided to close the museum in 1975, the newly formed nonprofit Coastal Heritage Society approached the State in 1976 asking permission to re-open and operate the site, which was granted. The historic site was now referred to as Old Fort Jackson. In 1978, Fort Jackson and CHS came under the leadership of Scott W. Smith. Operation continued to grow with modest success as did development of educational programming for regular guests and student field trips.

Currently, Old Fort Jackson has a successful model of independent operation and a solid reputation of delivering high-quality, engaging educational programming for booked groups. This program offering has been expanded to regular operation for daily museum guests and includes cannon, musket firings and other interactive & hands-on activities.ofj2


While at this stop, tour attendees had the chance to try steamed oysters and for many this was a first and highlight of the tour, for others, they were just happy with the sunset view they caught on the way out to load the buses. After the oysters and the tour of the fort, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy great southern cooking of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and dressing. ofj3

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Like Father, Like Son on Joe Boddiford Farms

The first farm visit on the Georgia Peanut Tour was Joe Boddiford’s Farms. The farm is operated by Joe and his son Knapp. Joe, a third-generation farmer, has been farming for over 45 years and serves on the Georgia Peanut Commission Board. During this farm stop, Joe showed tour attendees an array of tractors used on their farm including an old 1965 3010 John Deere which Joe has actually owned twice. The tractor was bought new by Joe’s father and was what Joe start farming with until he decided to sell it in the 90s.  Ten years or so later, Joe was at a tractor sale in South Carolina and said, “That’s my tractor!” Of course, Joe paid more for it than what he sold it for, but it was well worth it.kb2

Joe’s son, Knapp, is a recent graduate of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College located in Tifton, Ga. After receiving a degree in diversified agricultural with a concentration in agricultural business, Knapp returned to the family farm where he knew he would always end up. Knapp decided to attend ABAC after graduation instead of just going straight into farming because he wanted to learn more about the business side of agriculture and once at ABAC, he fell in love with the college and the people and knew the knowledge and connections would help him advance on and off his farming operation. Knapp says returning to the farm has been a challenging but rewarding experience, but couldn’t see himself anywhere else. Knapp’s favorite thing about working with his dad is being able to learn from his years of experience but also getting to teach him something new every now and then. One of the most valuable lessons Joe has taught Knapp is the value of a hard day’s work because the whole act of farming is to complete the task on time and to do it well to make a crop. Knapp is already showing much success. In 2016, Knapp was awarded as National FFA Star Finalist in Ag Placement. This means he was one of the top four finalist in the nation in this category and anyone that has worked for someone in the agricultural industry could compete in this category.

While at the farm, attendees were able to see peanuts being dug and harvested, they also had the opportunity to see corn harvesting.  They were even able to see Knapp turn on the irrigation pivots from the touch of button thanks to a mobile app on his phone. Knapp made the comment that he could even turn the pivots on and off while he was in Tifton at college. Kendall Kirk, a precision agricultural engineer with Clemson University made an appearance at this field stop and talked about the research Clemson University is doing and on Joe Boddiford Farms. Kirk and Clemson University has been working with the Boddiford’s for roughly the past five years. He talked to attendees about attendees about the different technology on the tractor.  The main focus Kirk wanted attendees to look at was the automated depth control system on the peanut digger, which is not available commercially yet, but Clemson is in the process of working with AMADAS on putting the system together.kb1

During the visit at Boddiford Farms, tour attendees were able to hear a crop update by Ray Hick, Screven County Extension Agent.  “I deal with homeowners in the urban area, lawn problems. I always say it’s the little old gray-haired lady with the rose bush problems and everything up to the major producers of crops here in the area. I may be in town in the morning then on the farm with a row crop producer talking about his cotton crop or his peanut crop in the afternoon, says Hicks.”  When it comes to challenges farmers have faced in Screven County Hicks goes on to say, “This year the farmers have had a wide diversity of challenges. Of course, we started off being dry, then we got into a wet period and it delayed some of our plantings, so really, we have two different crops in cotton and peanuts. We have an early crop and a late crop. Now with all the wet weather, it has been trying for the producers to keep fungicides on top of the fungicide sprays, but we have not had to turn the irrigation systems on as much so that will be a saving for them at the end of the year.” Ag South Farm Credit also provided boiled peanuts for participants to enjoy during this stop, and for many, this southern staple was first time experience.

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Overview on USAID Peanut Innovation Lab

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut is part of U.S. government’s strategy to fight hunger and poverty around the world. In 2016, Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, a law that recognizes it is in this country’s national security interest to promote global food security, resilience, and nutrition.

The law called for a national strategy to combat hunger, and Feed the Future is an integral part of that strategy, bringing together all aspects of American ingenuity to empower farmers in partner countries to produce nutritious food for their people.

Through the Peanut Innovation Lab and approximately two dozen other Innovation Labs, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) utilizes the expertise of top U.S. universities to solve food production, storage, processing and marketing challenges that prevent partner countries from producing enough food. These Innovation Labs aren’t physical buildings, but networks of researchers in the United States and abroad working together to improve food security and reduce poverty in key countries.

Dave Hoisington, who has led the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab at UGA since 2013 and holds a joint appointment as senior research professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at UGA, continues as director.

National Peanut Research Lab

usdaThe 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.

At this stop, Georgia Peanut Tour attendees were able to see firsthand the ongoing research programs at the USDA/ARS National Peanut Research Lab and hear from some of the researchers themselves. NPRL conducts a variety of projects to assist the peanut industry focusing on environmental research, systems research, flavor/quality research, peanut grading research, storage research and mycotoxin research with particular emphasis on the aflatoxins. The Laboratory conducts research toward improving quality, cleaning, storing and marketing of peanuts. Research is oriented toward solving the major problems confronting the peanut producer, handler, manufacturer, and the consumer. NPRL is also intricately involved in studies toward developing new and improved production marketing systems to reduce unit cost, enhance domestic and foreign use of peanuts and provide a safe, high quality product to the consumer. To learn more about the National Peanut Research Laboratory visit them on their website.

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Rooted in History

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To continue a day full of rich South Georgia history tour attendees ended the day  at the Thronateeska Heritage Center. Thronateeska Heritage Center is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1974 for the purpose of historic preservation and science education in Albany and Southwest Georgia.

Thronateeska’s campus includes a history museum, science museum, rail car display, a 40′ full dome HD planetarium, the Georgia Museum of Surveying & Mapping, and the South Georgia Archives. The museum facilities are housed in historic structures and new construction designed to reflect and retain the railroad heritage of the area. In 1974, concerned and community-spirited citizens championed the cause for revitalization of the historic downtown railroad depot area. Thronateeska Heritage Foundation, Inc. resulted from the merger of the Southwest Georgia Historical Society, organized in 1969, and the Albany Junior Museum, Inc., founded in 1959 by the Junior League of Albany.

Through Thronateeska’s efforts, the 1913 Union Station depot, located in what is now known as Heritage Plaza, was preserved as a legendary landmark, converted into a museum, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The Wetherbee Planetarium was open during the event and attendees were able to watch several showings as well as tour the science museum.


Attendees had the choice of Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream.

At the end of the evening, tour attendees were able to enjoy the annual low country boil and supper was finished up with a variety of peanut butter flavored ice creams. As always, the Georgia Peanut Tour appreciates the support from Dow AgroSciences and look forward to this event each year., So, a special thanks to all who have a hand in making this dinner such a successful night! This low country boil tradition has been sponsored by Dow AgroSciences for all 31 Georgia Peanut Tours.

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Dr. Culbreath speaks on tomato spotted wilt and leaf spot

Albert Culbreath, a 28 plus year professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, works primarily with foliar fungal diseases of peanut and tomato spotted wilt virus of peanut. Culbreath arrived at UGA shortly after tomato spotted wilt showed up, so needless to say they have a long history. “We’ve made tremendous progress dealing with that disease but it’s still around and still causes problems. Leaf spot has been a problem with peanuts as long as we’ve been growing peanuts in Georgia. We’re working on resistance and integrated management for both of those diseases, but with the leaf spot we’re still very heavily dependent upon fungicides for control of those,” says Culbreath. An awful lot of his work is geared toward looking with the different breeding programs, trying to help develop and utilize better resistance to spotted wilt and the leaf spot diseases.

The spotted wilt part of peanut RX is a tremendous decision tool for growers so the biggest factor with that is the ranking of variety for resistance to tomato spotted wilt. “We spend a lot of time trying to rank the cultivars depending on how susceptible or resistant they are. That’s the primary thing after planning date choice and typically with tomato spotted wilt, the earlier you plant, the greater the risk of damage from spotted wilt so if you’re planting a more moderately resistant variety or more susceptible variety, you would want to dodge an early planting,” the UGA researcher continued. The peanut RX would help with decisions like that. We only have one insecticide that provides suppression of spotted wilt. Thimet. There’s currently a few insecticides that work well on thrips or control the vector of spotted wilt, but Thimet is the only one that helps suppress the disease itself so those all come into play. Those are incorporated into the index and the index also helps you look at the additive effects of the different factors We will use the RX for the other diseases too and things like planting dates are just the opposite for tomato spotted wilt and leaf spot. “The earlier you plant, the higher the risk for tomato spotted wilt but the lower the risk for leaf spot”, says Culbreath. “If you have a low risk variety for tomato spotted wilt, we’re using that to let growers know that you can plant and dodge some of the leaf spot pressure. We have severe problems with fungicide resistance to some of the fungicide classes,” he adds. Some fungicides don’t work alone in Culbreath’s fields now so he’s looking at different combinations, different alternations that will prolong the utility of those fungicides so that’s the main focus of what he has going on in Plains at the University of Georgia’s Southwest Georgia Research & Education Center.

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Plains, Peanuts and a President


Plains, Georgia and President Jimmy Carter go together like peanut butter and jelly, that’s why the Georgia Peanut Tour would not have been complete in this area of the state without a visit to the home of the 39th President of the United States. Tour attendees were able to visit President Carter’s Boyhood Home and learn firsthand about the life of President Carter as a child. The former president talked about his days living in Plains and then in the White House. President Carter started his peanut business at the young age of five. That’s when he pulled up peanuts from his father’s field, cleaned them and boiled them. He then headed into Plains, Ga. to sell the boiled peanuts. He made money selling the boiled peanuts until he was 8 years old.

President Carter owes much of his success today to his life in Plains and growing up on the farm. Today, President Carter and Rosalynn are active with Habitat for Humanity. The Georgia Peanut Tour Committee chair, Glen Harris presented President Carter with a Georgia Peanut Tour shirt and gift basket filled with Georgia peanuts and peanut novelty items
.IMG_4651 Also at this tour stop, attendees were able to enjoy grilled pb&j’s presented by the National Peanut Buying Point Association. These sandwiches are a favorite for tour attendees- President Carter even swiped one up before taking a group photo with the crowd.


The 39th president, Jimmy Carter enjoys a grilled PB&J

This weekend, Sept. 23, the town of Plains celebrates with the annual Plains Peanut Festival. There are several activities planned all weekend. To learn more about the festival click here.

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