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Southeast rainfall improves peanut farmers’ attitudes

If the 2011 Southern Peanut Growers Conference had been held in late June, participants would have been far less optimistic about crop prospects.

“If this conference had been three weeks earlier, it would have been a poor conference,” said Randy Griggs, executive director, Alabama Peanut Commission. “Recent rains in the Southeast have meant a much better attitude.

“We didn’t get the stands we like to have by this time of year, but with recent rains we have potential for a much better crop than we did a month ago.”

Southwest farmers, he said, remain stuck in a long-term drought and need rain soon.

He said peanut demand, coupled with a short 2010 crop and continuing questions about 2011 production, has bolstered contract prices to record levels. “Demand for peanuts remains good,” Griggs said. “Acreage is down. We’ve seen a strong demand for cotton, and a lot of farmers in the Southeast have shifted acres from peanuts to cotton.”

He said that strong demand likely will carry over into next year. “We’re optimistic that we’ll have strong contract prices into 2012.”

Griggs said turnout for the 2011 conference was excellent. “We are very pleased,” he said. “Turnout is exceptional with more than 600 registered. We have a strong program with presentations from research to economic trends to industry information on the current crop and last year’s crop and the effect on consumption.”

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