Peanut varieties and cropping systems discussed at Southwest Georgia Research & Education Center Field Day

The Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia, held its annual Corn, Cotton, Peanuts and Soybean Field Day on Aug. 20, 2014. Administrators and researchers from the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences were on hand to update farmers on the research being conducted at the Plains research station.

2014_08_20_plainsfieldday_01sBill Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder, kicked off the field day with a presentation on high-yielding peanut varieties. Twelve varieties were presented with descriptions of character traits, yield potential, release date, etc. Branch also discussed the introduction of Georgia-13M, a new high-yielding, high-oleic, TSWV-resistant, small-seeded, runner-type variety released by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations in 2013. According to the Georgia Seed Development Authority, during three-years averaged over multiple location tests in Georgia, Georgia-13M had significantly less total disease incidence and greater dollar value return per acre compared to four other high-oleic, runner-type varieties. At this time, Georgia-13M is a protected peanut variety that can only be sold as a class of certified seed and only by individuals licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) under guidelines established in conjunction with the Georgia Seed Development Authority.

John Gassett with UGA’s Griffin campus discussed peanut variety trials. Gassett said the college manages 15,000 plots per year with various commodities. These plots are located at various research stations across the state. Each research station is unique in that the soil type varies at each. Gassett showed some of the variety trials currently being done at the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center. Gassett also mentioned the peanut, tobacco and cotton publications. Through these publications, research data dating back to 1997 is available. This data can be found at

Scott Tubbs, UGA cropping systems agronomist, presented his research on peanut cropping systems at the Plains research station. His current research on this topic is a second phase from research conducted last year on replanting decisions and plant populations. This year, he is looking at non-uniformed gaps in the field and how it affects yields with low and high populations. Tubbs said a high population would be around three plants per foot and a high population would be around 15 plants per foot. He has already begun planning for phase three of this project. Phase three will take this data and compare uniform and non-uniform gaps in the field.

To conclude presentations on peanuts, Scott Monfort, UGA’s newly-hired peanut agronomist, gave a crop update. Monfort believes irrigated peanuts will turn out well, while dryland peanuts do not look promising. He has had a few calls related to plants producing no peanuts. Monfort’s response to this is to have insurance adjusters come out to farms now and take a look at the crop. He is also encouraging farmers not to mix dryland and irrigated peanuts at harvest. Overall, he believes it will be an interesting year with the potential of a split crop.

By Jessie Turk, Georgia Peanut Commission

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Peanut Field Days give farmers an edge

Florida Field Day pic 2Farmers saw their checkoff dollars in action Friday, August 22nd while attending the annual Crops Field Day at the Wiregrass Research Extension Center in Headland, Alabama. About 50 farmers toured fields of peanuts, cotton and sesame and met with scientists conducting research for those crops. Last week, the annual Panhandle Crops Meeting was held at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida.

“We hold this tour every year about this time, just before the fall harvest,” says Kris Balkcom, research associate for the Wiregrass Research Extension Center. “Farmers can see the crops as they get close to maturity and ask questions to the scientists who are actually conducting the research. It’s a great way for farmers to see what their checkoff dollars are being used for.”

Peanut and cotton farmers contribute money at harvest to checkoff funds used for research, education and promotion. The scientists at the center test new plant varieties; planting methods; harvest techniques; seeding rates and irrigation – all while recording the data with the hopes of improving production and efficiency.

Nick Snellgrove, a peanut and cotton farmer from Ashford, Alabama, said he’d been to four of the annual tours, and each year he learns something different. “I can learn more and see what’s changed,” he says. “This year I learned about sesame and about possibly rotating it as a crop with peanuts.”

Tours like these help farmers realize how important their checkoff dollars really are,” says Alabama Peanut Producers Association President Carl Sanders. “Actually seeing the crops in the fields is always better than hearing or reading about it. As the world population continues to grow, it’s important that farmers look for ways to improve our efficiency while continuing to produce an affordable and abundant food supply. Tours like the one today help us realize there are still a lot of opportunities for us to do that.”

By Teresa Mays, Alabama Peanut Producers Association

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Overuse can lead to resistance

2014_midvillefd_01sBob Kemerait opened a copy of the New York Times, Aug. 11, 2014, edition, reading the headline, “Invader Batters Rural America, Shrugging Off Herbicides,” as he talked to growers at the recent field day held at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia. The article covers the glyphosate-resistant palmer amaranth and how farmers have overused glyphosate. The result, weeds with glyphosate-resisting genetic mutations.

Kemerait explains how glyphosate-resistant palmers first surfaced in the fall of 2004, in a field in Macon County, Georgia. The cotton farmer was concerned about the amount of pigweed that had survived in his field, though all other weeds seemed to be well-controlled with his herbicide program.  The grower contacted his then Extension agent, Jeremy Kichler, who worked with specialists at the University of Georgia to confirm that a glyphosate resistance issue was now a reality. Ten years later glyphosate-resistant Palmer Amaranth are present in at least 24 states.

Kemerait says the lesson learned from overusing glyphosate for weed control can be applied to peanut fungicides as well. Fungicides are critically important for controlling diseases in peanuts and farmers need to know and understand the fungicide’s chemistry, in addition to the brand name. In 2014, one commonly used fungicide to control soilborne diseases and foliar diseases, Abound, has become off patent. The active ingredient, azoxystrobin, is available to other companies now to develop generic formulations of the product. The best thing for growers with new generic formulations, Kemerait says, is the reduced price. However, Kemerait is concerned that the reduced price will lead to overuse and then to resistance problems, especially with leaf spot in peanuts.

At the Southeast Research and Education Center, Kemerait is working with county Extension agents, Mark Crosby of Emanuel County and Wade Parker of Jenkins County to review and compare the emerging arsenal of new fungicide and nematicide programs with older management programs. This work is critical given the recent generic status of azoxystrobin and new access to products such as Priaxor, Elatus and Velum Total.  Research data will be available following harvest comparing the fungicide chemistries and their performance on controlling diseases in peanuts.

View photos from the 2014 University of Georgia Southeast Research & Education Center in Midville, Georgia

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UGA Extension’s new peanut agronomist provides crop update

2014_midvillefd_29sUniversity of Georgia Extension’s new peanut agronomist says Georgia’s crop shows potential despite a prolonged drought.

“The crop has looked good, up until the last three weeks. We’re dealing with very dry conditions, and we really, really need a rain,” said Scott Monfort, who arrived on the UGA Tifton Campus on Aug. 1.

Monfort says this year’s peanut crop is also experiencing insect issues as well, including lesser cornstalk borer and spider mites, which are related to the dry conditions. Despite the weeks of little to no precipitation, chances of a productive peanut season are still good, providing it rains during the last half of the growing season.

“Right now the crop looks good and has the potential of yielding very well, maybe just a little bit under that from last year,” Monfort said. “If the rains will come, we can look at a very, very good year.”

He estimates 590,000 acres of peanuts are planted this year with about half being irrigated.

Monfort’s role as Extension peanut agronomist is to work closely with UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ research agronomist Scott Tubbs to help implement new technology into peanut production statewide. He will also assist Georgia peanut farmers and keep them apprised of the latest developments regarding one of Georgia’s top row crops.

“I think this is one of the most important positions, just for the fact this position really works and coordinates with all the other peanut specialists. I will hopefully make the program run more efficiently and try to promote everything that’s being done in peanuts,” Monfort said. “I think it is a very out-front position that is here to promote everything that we do in the university.”

For more information about Georgia’s peanut crop, go to

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Governor Bentley Establishes Alabama Drone Task Force

Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced the creation of the Alabama Drone Task Force.  The task force was created to review the necessary requirements to further Alabama’s potential use of drones in areas of agriculture, conservation and law enforcement.

“I believe drone use can benefit the state now and for generations to come, because drones offer many advantages to help our farmers and law enforcement agencies be successful,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The task force will review Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for drone use in Alabama and establish the necessary guidelines. We have assembled a strong group with extensive knowledge and experience to serve on the task force, and I look forward to their recommendations for a statewide plan.”

The task force consists of the following five members: Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillian, Transportation Director John Cooper, Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier and Montgomery Airport Authority Board Member Jimmy Reynolds. Commissioner McMillian will serve as chair of the task force.

“So many constructive uses have emerged recently for drones in agriculture, forestry and other commercial enterprises,” Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillian said. “Now is the time for the State of Alabama to be proactive  with ideas that enable this rapidly developing technology to be a positive innovation for the long-term. I am honored that Governor Bentley has asked me to join this worthwhile endeavor that will yield great benefits now and in the future.”

The Governor has requested task force members accomplish the following:

  • Study the requirements for drone operations in Alabama, and the process for FAA approval;
  • Apply for necessary FAA waivers for drone use in Alabama airspace;
  • Meet with stakeholders to discuss plans for drone use;
  • Recommend a statewide plan for drone use in Alabama

The first meeting of the Drone Task Force is scheduled for Friday, August 29, 2014, in Montgomery. The statewide drone management plan is due to the Governor before January 15, 2015.

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Georgia Peanut Commission reminds farmers to verify acreage history at local FSA office

The Georgia Peanut Commission is urging all farmers to take action on a recent letter received from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) asking for verification of a farm’s acreage history. Failure to review the letter and respond could potentially mean a loss of any potential funds available for farmers.

The letter, dated July 28, 2014, includes a Summary Acreage History Report, which shows the acreage of covered commodities FSA could determine for the 2014 farm serial number. The report shows the 2014 base acres and counter-cyclical (CC) yields, and for 2008-12 planted acres, the acres prevented from being planted and acres planted after failed or prevented acres (called subsequent acres). Given farm serial numbers are composed of tracts, it is imperative farmers ensure all tract information is included in the Summary Acreage History Report.

“The commission realizes this is a busy time of year for farmers in the middle of corn harvest, irrigation and preparing for peanut harvest, so we wanted to remind farmers not to forget about the short time-frame to respond,” says Armond Morris, GPC chairman. “The letter received from FSA also breaks down the farm information by serial number instead of tract number, so we encourage farmers to request FSA to provide information based on the individual tract numbers of the farm.”

If farmers notice errors on the report, they have until Sept. 25, 2014, to contact their local FSA county office where the farm is administratively located to provide verifiable documentation of their acreage. This information will be used in determining any potential base reallocation for that farm serial number later this year, as well as potentially impacting any CC yield updating.

On Feb. 7, 2014, the President signed the Agricultural Act of 2014, which provides land owners with an option to reallocate base acres and update yields for covered commodities. The reallocation of base acres and the updating of counter-cyclical yields for covered commodities are in preparation for producers to enroll in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and/or Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Peanuts are one of 20 commodities covered. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Earlier this summer, the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness (NCPC) officially launched the Preliminary Base Acreage and Payment Yields Decision Calculator. When USDA-FSA issues the final rules and regulations on base reallocation and yield updating, as well as temporary generic base allocation for a crop year sometime late summer/fall 2014, the calculator will be modified to reflect these changes.

The calculator is available for download on the Georgia Peanut Commission’s website, For additional questions, contact Stanley Fletcher, NCPC director, at 404-277-2319 or email at

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National Center for Peanut Competitiveness releases “Preliminary Base Acreage and Payment Yields Decision Calculator”

At the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City, Florida, the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness (NCPC) officially launched the “Preliminary Base Acreage and Payment Yields Decision Calculator.” The annual conference brings growers from across the Southeast for three days of educational sessions focusing on production, research, marketing, industry issues and legislative issues. The calculator was developed by the NCPC after reviewing the text of the 2014 Farm Bill and discussions with Congressional staff involved in the drafting of the bill, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA) personnel. When the USDA-FSA issues the final rules and regulations on base reallocation and yield updating, as well as temporary generic base allocation for a crop year sometime late summer/fall 2014, the spreadsheet will be modified to reflect these changes.

“It is imperative producers begin the process of collecting the necessary data now rather than later. With local office closings and staff cuts in USDA- FSA, local offices will be challenged in providing data on demand and working with the producers at the same level as was seen in the previous two farm bills,” says Dr. Stanley Fletcher, NCPC director. “Documents needed by the producer for this process will include the FSA-156EZ, FSA-578 from 2008-2013 and a document showing proven yields for all of the producer’s 2014 Farm Serial Numbers.”

The NCPC developed the calculator to assist producers in developing farm strategies and decisions based on their individual needs. Grower checkoff funds helped with the development of the decision calculator. For additional questions, contact Stanley Fletcher, NCPC director, at 404-277-2319 or email at

Download Calculator Instructions
Download Preliminary Base Acreage and Payment Yields Decision Calculator

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2014 Georgia Peanut Tour set for September

2013_peanuttour_80webThe twenty-eighth annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 16-18, 2014, and located out of East Georgia at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Pooler, Georgia. 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 including Bulloch, Burke, Screven and Toombs County.

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, peanut processing facilities, and several special highlights which include research at the University of Georgia Research & Education Center in Midville, Port Authority of Georgia in Savannah,  Birdsong Ogeechee Peanut Buying Point and Vidalia Valley.

One special interest of the tour has always been the Early Bird “Hot Topics” Seminar set for Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. This year’s Hot Topics Seminar, held at the Holiday Inn and Suites, will focus on the Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL). The seminar topics include an update on the 2014 Georgia peanut crop, peanut program and market update, an overview of the USAID Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, genomic-based breeding, technologies to improve peanut production and processing and PMIL’s experience in Haiti.

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.

Hotel accommodations can be made at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Pooler, Georgia, by calling 912-330-5100. Rooms are available at the rate of $89 for a single/double room and $109 for a suite. Visit to register and view tour schedule. For more information, contact Hannah Jones at or call at       229-386-3470.

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July/August Southeastern Peanut Farmer

julyaugust2014sepf_webcoverThe July/August issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available for digital reading.

This issue features the:
2014 Harvest Guidebook
Eye in the sky for peanuts
Hardy Farms enters the roasting business
Check off reports from the state grower organizations
Legislative Update
Southern Peanut Growers Update

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Peanut Leadership Academy graduates Class VIII

2014_06_07_plagraduation_ptclear_77sNine peanut farmers and sheller representatives from the Southeast graduated from the Peanut Leadership Academy on June 7 at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. During the graduation weekend, graduates and their families had the opportunity to tour Baldwin County Alabama and learn about farming practices in the area, as well as visit Auburn University’s Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center in Fairhope.

The Peanut Leadership Academy is a cooperative effort between Syngenta Crop Protection, the American Peanut Shellers Association, grower organizations and agricultural extension. The program began in 1998 with the first class of 14 peanut growers from Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Since then, the academy has continued to grow to include growers from Texas, Mississippi and sheller representatives.

Activities in the leadership program are structured to give participants a thorough understanding of the U.S. peanut industry. The leadership sessions range from field trips, meetings with industry leaders and professional development training. Each class has one leadership session in Washington, D.C. where class members have an opportunity to visit with their congressmen about issues affecting the peanut industry.

The Class VIII members who graduated from the Peanut Leadership Academy are: Alabama – Steven Byrd, Ariton; Florida – Alan Davis, Chipley; and Damon Griswold, Jay; Georgia – Will Ellis, Douglas; Sam Hattaway, Blakely; and Justin Jones, Leesburg; Mississippi – Daniel Parrish, Greenwood; sheller representatives – Cole McNair, Damascus Peanut Company; and Reed Rogers, Golden Peanut Company.

For more information on the Peanut Leadership Academy, contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission or Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.

Download Peanut Leadership Academy application for Class IX.
Applications are due Sept. 1, 2014.

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