Farm Progress

Peanut price jump not tempting growers

Peanut price jump linked to cotton pricesGrowers need $750 a ton to compete with cottonArgentina may play a role

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

February 16, 2011

2 Min Read

Peanut prices made a significant jump from Feb. 9 to Feb. 16, but contract offerings from shellers are still too low to tempt most farmers to switch acreage from cotton, which at $1.30 per pound offers better profit potential than peanuts at a price lower less than $750 a ton.

Prices for the last two weeks are:


  • $649.54 per ton for Runner peanuts

  • $641.68 per ton for Spanish peanuts 

  • $653.06 per ton for Valencia peanuts

  • $653.06 per ton for Virginia peanuts


  • $599.54 per ton for Runner peanuts

  • $591.68 per ton for Spanish peanuts 

  • $603.06 per ton for Valencia peanuts

  • $603.06 per ton for Virginia peanuts

“The increase in price is definitely related to competition for acres and cotton prices being so high,” said Shelley Nutt, executive director, Texas Peanut Producers Board in Lubbock.

“Dr. Stanley Fletcher (professor, agricultural and applied economics, University of Georgia) says that it would take a $690 a ton contract on peanuts to equal $1 cotton.  For every 10 cents cotton goes up, add $30 to the peanut price,” Nutt said.

“So with cotton up to $1.30, we need a $750 contract offer. And we’re still not there. Offers for $650 were ignored by peanut farmers, and who can blame them? Cotton is less risk, has better crop insurance, fewer inputs and is worth more. It’s a no-brainer not to grow peanuts—unless the shellers get the contract offers to $750 to $800 a ton.”

Competition also could play a role, she said.

“Argentina is growing very high quality peanuts and has the infrastructure in place to transport and process peanuts, so my worry now is that shellers and manufacturers will start importing Argentine peanuts for much less than we can afford to grow them here. (A representative from) a major manufacturer representative called wondering what it would take to get farmers to grow peanuts and when I told him, he stated that his bosses had him in Argentina not long ago checking the crop and said they will more than likely start buying from Argentina.”

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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