Peanut Grower Magazine Column Peanut Notes No. 11 2019

— Written By

Many growers are deciding whether or not to continue with their historical plantings or decrease those because of anticipated lower contract prices this spring. Those arrangements are made directly by individual growers and shellers. In the V-C region, peanut yield as a whole was off from what we consider the new average of 2 tons/acre (but not far from that level). We had a decent crop even with the challenges during the growing season and at harvest. This has resulted in significant inventory. With lower than “hoped for” prices, many growers are looking closely at production costs. Typically I might say this is a good year to cut back on production in fields that may not yield the best, especially when considering risk and lower prices. This approach would also lead to gains down the road with improved rotations as well as decreasing inventory. The challenge is limited alternatives to peanuts.

At the current time prices are depressed for just about every other crop and production costs have increased significantly. We encourage growers look at their realistic yield potential and pick the best fields in their rotation plan that will maximize income per acre and minimize overall risk. With respect to risk, there are corners we simply cannot cut in the production budget. Getting pH to the right level and controlling pests almost always pays a dividend. Certainly one can look closely at the options that are available and shop around, but the basics need to be in place to ensure efficient production. All states have production budgets and the elements listed in those are essential. In many of the surveys we do with growers we find that their “keys to success” almost always include timeliness of practices. In a year with concerns about price and profit margins, being as precise and timely with the practices we know are essential may be the key. While we haven’t even planted and digging is a long way off, being on time with digging is one of the best examples of how timeliness pays. But on the way to the fall, being timely with all pesticide applications and other inputs can set the stage for greater yields with similar input costs. While I have been known to point out the obvious, “timeliness makes a big difference over the growing season.”