Peanut Maturity Means Cash to Farmers

One of the most popular questions asked about peanut farming is, “How do farmers know when to dig their peanuts?” Farmers utilize the hull scrape method and peanut profile board to determine when to dig and the resulting yield and grade means cash to farmers.


Farmers pod-blast their peanuts before placing the sample on the maturity profile board. The pod-blasting process is a good method in mitigating peanut losses. 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.


Some peanut fields planted on the same date may mature at different times based on cultivar selection, soil type or weather patterns. Knowing when to dig peanuts can mean the difference between loosing and gaining 200 lbs. per acre.

During the visit at the Lang-Rigdon Farm in Tifton, tour participants were able to see this process firsthand, as well as load up on trams and travel through the farm to learn about some of the latest peanut research being conducted at the University of Georgia. They also got a chance to hear more about some of the issues Georgia peanut farmers have faced in the 2016 growing season.


View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album

Irwin County Crop Update

irwinIrwin county is a diverse county. It is number one in the state in muscadine production and close to number one in blackberries, but row crops are also a predominant acreage in Irwin County. Farmers in Irwin County mainly plant cotton, peanuts, corn, tobacco, wheat and soybeans have been on the rise in the most recent years. For the last couple of years, Irwin County’s peanut acreage has been around twenty-two thousand acres, with some years  having a little bit more.

“With the new Farm Bill, we’ve seen our acreage go up,” states Phillip Edwards, Coffee County extension agent. “This year has been a tough year. We’ve had a lot of disease issues that have come on.” Peanut farmers in this area have also faced issues with spider mites in some dry-land fields and on dry corners of irrigated fields. The problem with these issues are not everywhere, but they are hit or miss for the farmers in Irwin Co.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour photo album

When in Drought…

2016 has been a trying year for peanut farmers across the state. During the first stop of the day on the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour, attendees were able to hear and see some of the hardships Georgia farmers are facing. Armond Morris, Georgia Peanut Commission chairman had his equipment hooked and up and ready to dig peanuts when the tour arrived at his farm in Irwin County, Ga. Morris’ farm stop sits on the boundary line of Irwin and Berrien counties off of Highway 158. Morris is a long-time farmer who plants a crop rotation of cotton, peanuts and wheat. He usually grows corn, too, but has elected to only grow cotton and peanuts this growing season.


Peanuts being harvested at the farm of  GPC chairman, Armord Morris in Irwin Co., Ga.

All of Morris’ crops are strip-till. Peanuts grown on his farm are Georgia 06s, which is the primary peanut grown in Georgia. “It is a great peanut. I think it’s a great peanut for the industry as far as manufacturing is concerned. It’s a very tasty peanut and it makes good peanut butter and roasted nuts,” states Morris.

The peanut tour participants were able to see March 26 planted peanuts being picked that did not receive any rainfall from the end of June through the month of July. The peanuts on Morris’ farm have been sprayed with four applications of white mold treatment and then sprayed with 7-20 six times. It has been a hot summer in South Georgia and farmers faced the struggle of keeping enough water to keep their peanuts growing. Morris stated it was important they stayed with this application program due to the exceedingly dry weather conditions. He went on to state that there will be some dry land peanuts in this area that will have a lot of disease issues that could result in Seg. 2 or Seg. 3 peanuts.

The GPC chairman thanked participants for attending the tour. Morris stated he hopes after the tour is over, attendees will better understand what the Georgia Peanut Commission means to the whole peanut industry and the whole United States as far as production of peanuts.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Album

Peanut Partners & Coffee County Crop Update

Tour peanutpartnersparticipants were able to learn more about the grading process for peanuts and the sorting, drying and storage methods at a Peanut Partners buying point in Douglas, Ga. during the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour. As peanuts enter the buying point the semitrailers of peanuts are dried and then samples are taken from the trailers for grading. The peanuts are graded by employees of the Georgia Federal State Inspection Service. Peanut Partners is a relatively  new business to Coffee County, co-owners Clarkie Leverette, Phil Murray, and Lyle Gaskins opened the peanut facility in August 2015.

Mark von Waldner has served as the county extension agent in Coffee Co. for four years. Prior to his time in Coffee Co. von Waldner served as the county extension agent in Atkinson Co. for 23 years. “Peanuts have been one of my favorite crops and we are excited the peanut tour is coming through Coffee County this year, he says.” This year Coffee Co. has over 50,000 acres of peanut planted, which is a lot more than the counties average due to low cotton prices “Peanuts are very important to us. The crop this year has been tough; each field has been hit or miss with rains,” von Waldner adds.  Irrigated peanuts in the county still looks pretty good, but it’s going to be a tough call on dry land as when to dig. Farmers in Coffee Co.  have had some issues with white mold, mostly dry weather has caused lesser cornstalk borers problem and some burrowing bug and spider mite issues. “Overall, Coffee Co. is expected to have a pretty good crop, it is just not going to be the best we’ve ever had due to the drought.”

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour photo album

Tour of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture

Image result for georgia museum of agWhile the Georgia Peanut Tour focuses on educating attendees about the quality of Georgia peanuts, the tour also brings together Southern hospitality and great food. This year is no exception! Tour attendees were able to step back into the 19th Century while touring the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historical Village and listening to the wise words of Mr. Frank McGill, former peanut agronomist at the University of Georgia and Georgia Peanut Hall of Farm. While at the museum, attendees were able to explore the farms, listen to the barnyard sounds, experience everyday 19th century-style life in the wiregrass village and learn more about the history of Georgia agriculture in the museum.

Friendly staff members share the history as they perform daily activities whether in farmhouses, fields, sawmill, turpentine still, schoolhouse, blacksmith’s shop, or the grist mill. Visitors can also stroll up the main street to the Feed and Seed store, the print shop and the drug store. During the tour, attendees were able to tour the original Victorian home of Tifton’s founder, Captain H. H. Tift. The Tift House was designed with curly pine molding, high ceilings, antique furnishings, and heart pine floors. It’s furnished with a wood burning cook stove, Victorian paintings, ornate wallpaper, and fine china.gma-images

Georgia’s Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village opened as the Agrirama on July 4, 1976. The grounds consist of five areas: a traditional farm community of the 1870s, an 1890s progressive farmstead, an industrial sites complex, rural town, national peanut complex, and the Museum of Agriculture Center. Over 35 structures have been relocated to the 95-acre site and faithfully restored or preserved. Costumed interpreters explain and demonstrate the life-style and activities of this time in Georgia’s history.

img_1428At the end of the evening, tour attendees were able to partake in the annual low country boil. This low country boil tradition has been sponsored by Dow AgroSciences for all 30 Georgia Peanut Tours. Supper was finished up with, of course, a variety of peanut butter flavored ice-creams.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

2016 Peanut Crop Update from Scott Monfort, UGA Extension peanut agronomist

The 2016 peanut crop got off to one of the best starts we’ve had in the last several years. The UGA Peanut Team had high hopes that the potential of the crop would stay that way through the entire growing season; however, like always, mother nature tends to throw a curve ball and has caused some major situations to develop through the growing season- one of those being lack of rainfall. 50 percent of Georgia’s 2016 peanut crop is irrigated. If  looking at just the irrigated crop, the yield potential has maintained itself through the growing season and looks pretty good. “But, the non-irrigated is what we are worried about most,” says Scott Monfort, UGA Extension peanut agronomist. Non-irrigated peanuts have gone through most of the growing season without rainfall which has severely crippled the peanut crop in some areas where they have very little yield or none at all. That’s about 20 to 30 percent at the most of the non-irrigated crop, the rest of it can go from having a light yield to a very good yield depending on how much rain they received.

Currently with the 2016 Georgia Peanut Crop, “we are still trying to find out how much of the non-irrigated crop farmers will actually harvest and part of that will be determined by  how much of the non-irrigated crop has been affected by other issues like diseases and insects and how that might affect yield and quality,” Monfort states. Georgia has planted 770,000 acres of peanuts. “We are just going to have to wait as we begin this harvest to determine where we are at and what the average yields are going to be,” he adds. If you look on the National Ag Statistics website, they have Georgia listed as producing 4,600 pounds as the state average. Monfort says we are not going to make that. “We are going to be somewhere in between 3,600 and 4,100 pounds at the best for this year at the best. That has a lot of the industry worried now because we’ve had higher exports from peanuts last year and lower yields so we are wondering if we are going to have enough supply to meet the domestic demand going into next year,” Monfort adds.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour album

A Southern Staple

At this stop, tour attendees were able to see a different aspect of peanut farming c21480962042_95c13a0e0f_oompared 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.

View the 2015 Georgia Peanut Tour Album

Low Country Boil at the Plantation


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.

View the 2015 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album

Harvest at Glenn Heard Farms

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.

View the 2015 Georgia Peanut Tour photo album. 

All good things must come to an end

2014.09.16-18 GA PNTour 1255Peanut 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.

2014.09.16-18 GA PNTour 1280This 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.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.