2023 Georgia Peanut Crop Update

During the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour, Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist, provided an update on the peanut crop and some of the some of the issues growers have dealt with throughout the season.

According to Monfort, growers had a bumpy start to this season.

“We had rough weather early and when I say rough it was very cool and very wet to begin with and then it stayed cool throughout June,” Monfort says. “So, it took us a little while to get this crop up and going, but the crop did finally get there. The only issue now is that farmers are about two weeks late.”

The peanut crop did catch up a little bit with the hot weather in July and August. However, according to Monfort, peanuts need more hot weather. During the first part to the middle part of September, farmers begin their harvest.

“This is our time to figure out how well we did this year and I’m afraid to say that we are in a situation where it’s not a perfect crop,” Monfort says. “We’ve had rough weather like I mentioned earlier, real hot through the middle part of this summer and we did dry out in some places, especially in the western part of the state. Some areas have gone three to four or five weeks in some places without any rain.”

The recent Hurricane Idalia did help some of the acres from the central part of the state through the eastern part, but it did not help the farmers in the western part of the state. The dry land crop is still suffering some in parts of Georgia.

“We’re going to have to harvest some of those a little bit earlier,” Monfort says. “The yield’s going to be a little bit lower quality, but I think at this point if we can capture the crop that’s on it, the quality should be okay.”

According to Monfort, the irrigated crop at this point is on par.

“The irrigated crop is doing good,” Monfort says. “It looks like we still have a pretty good high yield potential as long as we continue doing what we can by taking care of all the pest problems and irrigating when needed.”

Monfort encourages growers to wait until their peanuts are as mature as possible to help with their overall yield and quality.

“We’re going to have some areas of the state that we’ve got to worry about, but I think for growers throughout the state, we’ve made it through a tough year, and we’ve been able to still make a crop,” Monfort says. “I think we’ll end the year at least on a good note as far as I can tell, if growers follow through and finish the things that we need to.”

View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

Aflatoxin Issues in Peanuts

Jake Fountain, mycotoxin and post-harvest pathogen specialist at the University of Georgia, provided an update on his research program during the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour. Fountain’s research program primarily focuses on aflatoxin issues in peanuts and also other crops overall.

His lab is working on a few different research directions to try to mitigate aflatoxin issues including host plant resistance. Through the research, he is looking at bringing genetics from wild species of peanuts to new breeding lines in order to improve the resistance of peanuts to aflatoxin issues.

The second area we work on is detection for aflatoxins. Fountain works closely in collaboration with other UGA and USDA research scientists to develop technology to do hot spot prediction using drone technology equipped with fancy cameras to try to find spots in the field that are at higher risk for aflatoxin issues. He is also working closely with this group to try to look at the soil microbiology associated with those hot spots and see if they are at a greater risk for having isolates of the aspergillus fungus that make more amounts of aflatoxins.

The third focus area is looking at the pathogens’ biology. There’s still a lot of questions about why this fungus produces aflatoxin in the first place. What controls how much it makes and how it actually gets into peanuts.

Fountain is looking at doing a survey of aspergillus fungus associated with peanuts here in the Southeast. Primarily, here in southern Georgia in collaboration with Premium Peanut and other UGA scientists and also Hudson Alpha in Huntsville, Alabama, Fountain is looking at doing genome sequencing and understanding the genetics of this fungus.

Finally, we’re looking at biotechnology right now. GMO peanuts are not something that the peanut industry here in the U.S is really exploring using due to export concerns and public perceptions. The technology that’s used in GMOs can be very useful for aflatoxin prevention so what Fountain is trying to do now is to develop a kind of biotech pesticide that uses the same type of technology that would go into GMO but can be applied as a spray to non-GMO peanuts and hopefully provide the same level of effect to reducing aflatoxins.

“Overall, this year we’re looking at a pretty good crop with reduced aflatoxin and risk,” Fountain says. “However, vigilance is always the key and we’re hoping that our research programs help fill in some gaps and help with the mitigation of aflatoxin for our growers here in the state.”

View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

UGA Peanut Breeding Update

Nino Brown, University of Georgia peanut breeder provided an update to 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour attendees on the peanut breeding program at the university. Brown works closely with Bill Branch, peanut breeder at the University of Georgia, as they work to develop new cultivars or varieties of peanuts for growers in Georgia and beyond.

“We look to improve yield and improve profitability,” Brown says. “We do a lot of work improving disease resistance, insect resistance and improving shelling quality characteristics that are important for the growers, the shellers, manufacturers and ultimately the consumer.”

So, Brown and Branch make crosses between cultivars that have a number of good characteristics and then they evaluate the progenies that come out of those crosses. This process takes several years.

“It takes approximately 10 to 12 years from the time we make an initial cross-pollination to the time we have something that is ready for a variety release and then ready to sell to growers,” Brown says.

The breeding lines are tested all over the state of Georgia at research farms in Midville, Plains, Attapulgus and Tifton. The new peanut lines are also tested at research and education centers or research farms throughout the peanut growing region where the cultivar could be grown.

“We do that so whenever we release a cultivar to growers, we know that it’s going to perform well in a variety of growing situations and in a number of growing environments that the cultivar may encounter in in South Georgia,” Brown says.

View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

Digging at Davis Farms

The first stop of the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour was a stop at Davis Farms. Davis Farms is owned and operated by Rusty and Jerry Davis of Decatur County, Georgia. They farm cotton and peanuts and even own their own buying point right in the heart of home. They have had a love for farming since 1986, which was when the journey of Davis Farms began. The Davis brothers purchased the farm for their father and have worked side by side ever since.

This stop highlighted the use of GPS navigation, which allows the farmer to monitor what is happening behind him, all while digging peanuts. GPS navigation is the best investment for a farmer because it helps prevent digging losses by being more precise. TifNV High O/L was also featured on the Davis Farms. This variety is a nematode resistant variety, which is needed in this county where nematode issues are high.

Decatur County, Georgia is a hotspot for agriculture. Peanuts are a top commodity in the county, along with sweet corn and tomatoes. Decatur County is #2 in the state of Georgia for certified peanut acres, with a total of 33,728 acres.

To learn more about peanut production in the state of Georgia, click here.

View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.


Hot Topics Seminar Focuses on Advancements in Integrative Precision Agriculture for Enhanced Peanut Production and Processing

The 35th annual Georgia Peanut Tour kicked off with a Hot Topics seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Cloud Livestock Pavilion in Bainbridge, Georgia. The seminar provided an update on the 2023 peanut crop as well as an update on the farm bill and other legislative activities that can have an impact on the peanut industry. Each year the seminar also highlights some of the latest hot topics happening in the industry and this year’s special focus included advancements in integrative precision agriculture for enhanced peanut production and processing.  The speakers provided an overview of the University of Georgia FoodPIC Center and the USDA Peanut Germplasm Collection as well as information on irrigation technologies and precision agriculture in peanut production.

Click on the links below to view the speaker presentations.

Novel Technologies in Peanut Processing – Dr. Jim Gratzek, director of UGA’s Food Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC)

USDA Peanut Germplasm Collection at the UGA Griffin Campus Genebank – Dr. Shyam Tallury, Peanut Curator at the USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

New Peanut Irrigation Technologies – Dr. Wes Porter, University of Georgia Associate Professor and Extension Specialist covering Precision Agriculture and Irrigation

Precision Agricultural Management Systems – Dr. George Vellidis, University of Georgia Professor

Strategies to Improve Peanut Production – Dr. Cris Pilon, University of Georgia Assistant Professor in Row Crops Physiology

Precision Agriculture in Peanut Production – Dr. Simer Virk, University of Georgia Assistant Professor and Extension Precision Ag Specialist

Update on the 2023 Georgia Peanut Crop – Dr. Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension Peanut Agronomist

Washington and Farm Bill Update – Dr. Stanley Fletcher, policy professor at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College’s Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation


View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Welcome to the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour

We warmly welcome each of you and thank you for joining us on the 2023 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 35th 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 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour is staged in the southwest region of our state’s production area and begins on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 12, with a “Hot Topics” symposium. Our speakers will address the status of our peanut crop and provide a special focus on new technologies in peanut production and processing. You will get an update on the legislation affecting peanut production.

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 peanut production, digging, and harvest, at the farm of Rusty and Jerry Davis near Climax, Georgia, and Glen Heard in Brinson, Georgia. University of Georgia and U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers will provide you with updates on groundbreaking research projects they have at the UGA Research and Education Center located in Attapulgus, Georgia. The tour visits the facilities of LMC Manufacturing to see the engineering and fabrication of the world’s most widely used peanut cleaning, shelling, and processing equipment. We will get an integrated look at peanut buying, shelling, and processing as we visit the grower-cooperative American Peanut Growers Group in Donalsonville, Georgia.

Again, on behalf of the Peanut Tour Committee, with members from the Georgia Peanut Commission, the University of Georgia, and the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Lab, I warmly welcome you to the 35th 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 southern hospitality at its finest 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.

View the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

2023 Georgia Peanut Tour set for Bainbridge area

The thirty-fifth annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 12-14, 2023, in Bainbridge, 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 in Southwest Georgia.

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 Attapulgus Research and Education Center.

Lodging for the tour will be housed at the Hampton Inn in Bainbridge, Ga. Please call 229-246-1341 and ask for the Georgia Peanut Tour room block when reserving rooms. A standard room is $125 plus taxes and breakfast is included. The deadline to reserve rooms is Aug. 20, 2023. Additional lodging is available at the Holiday Inn Express in Bainbridge, Ga. The room rate is $130.99 plus tax (breakfast included). The deadline to reserve rooms is Aug. 7, 2023.

For attendees flying, the closest airport is the Tallahassee International Airport.

For specific tour info or details, contact David West at 229-386-3470.

The Georgia Peanut Commission, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the USDA-ARS National Peanut Laboratory coordinate the tour.

Registration is now closed. Individuals can register on-site at the tour.
Download Sponsorship Packet
2023 Tour Schedule
Tour Maps & Driving Directions – Wed., Sept. 13 and Thurs., Sept. 14