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State peanut specialists give their views on 2020 crop as harvest nears

Brad Haire brad-haire-farm-press-PeanutAugust-2.jpg
Drought has stressed the 2020 U.S. peanut crop. At this time, peanut specialists say the crop looks good but will likely not break yield records in most locations.

Where it rained, it most likely rained again. That's good. Where it didn't rain, well, it likely didn't rain much more, at least not enough. Drought has stressed the 2020 U.S. peanut crop. At this time, peanut specialists say the crop looks good but will likely not break yield records in key locations.

"As we go through the different states and regions, you can say weather certainly has taken its toll on a lot of areas in places across the U.S.," reported Kris Balkcom, Alabama Cooperative Extension peanut specialist, to the annual preharvest meeting jointly held by the American Peanut Shellers Association and the National Peanut Buying Points Association virtually held Aug. 12.

For an example, Balkcom shared data pulled from weather stations across the Virginia-Carolina region, which showed a pattern. "If you looked at other (weather) stations across the U.S., you would see this kind of variability out there in many places, and that's why it's really hard to get a good estimate of this crop. You know, when it's rain, you think it is raining everywhere, but that is not the case. It's been very spotty," he said.

Balkcom stood in for his fellow specialists across the peanut belt and provided the meeting with their snapshots of the crop right now in their neck of the woods.


Maria Balota with Virginia Tech reported:

  • Estimated acres 27,000.
  • Main Varieties: Bailey and Sullivan
  • Main problems: Drought, under a four-week dry and hot period, with only now supposed to end due to Isaias.
  • Harvest may be behind due to weather. May beginning of September
  • Yield Potential:  Hard to say given the weather.

North Carolina

David Jordan with NC State reported:

  • Estimated acres 100,000
  • Varieties are split between Bailey and Sullivan for VA types and around 8% runner for the balance.
  • BaileyII, Emery, and Sullivan are high oleic and that is the direction we are moving to by year 2022 and 2023.
  • Dry weather has been an issue with concerns of spider mite outbreaks. Rainfall from the recent hurricane has saturated many peanut fields and improved growth and development moving forward.  However, growers need to spray quickly due to the increase in pathogens from this tropical event.
  • Yield potential remains at 3,900 pounds per acre.

South Carolina

Dan Anco with Clemson University reported:

  • Estimated acres 75,000
  • Bailey, Sullivan, O9B, O6G, 297, 33, and some Emery. 
  • Some runner cultivar seed quality was suboptimal following the 2019 season. 
  • Stand issues, TSW in places, erratic weather has affected planting and management timing.  Rain is needed to reduce stress and help pod fill. 
  • Harvest should start first week of September. 
  • Yield Potential: Some areas have been more fortunate with rainfall, overall, still good potential, but need good weather to finish out and harvest.
  • Concerns: Adverse weather during harvest would add challenges.


Balkcom reported:

  • Estimated acres in the 170,000 range
  • Still mainly O6Gs, but some acres of other varieties.
  • Concerned with TSWV in 331, and many growers have issues with increased LSKs with 12Y.  AUNPL17 can perform well in a high disease environment due to its disease package. 
  • Lots of seed issues with marginal stands scattered across the state resulting in TSW issues. Too early to tell how bad that will hurt us. 
  • Overall crop looked pretty good, but the dry weather and heat has taken its toll for the past 10-14 days. Harvest should start early September.
  • "I feel like due to some of the stand issues, pockets of dry weather, and extreme heat that we will not break any yield records this year.  However, August will help determine the size of our crop," he said.


Scott Monfort with UGA Extension reported:

  • Estimated acres 750,000.
  • Mainly O6G, O9B, 12Y, 16HO, FloRun331, Ga18RU. V
  • ariety issues: Disease with O9B and germ with O6G.
  • Skippy stands and increased TSWV have been the main issues this growing season.
  • Harvest should start Sept.1
  • Yield Potential: The dry land crop is struggling in many areas. Irrigated looks good except for fields with stand issues and virus. Yield should be down overall this year unless the rain situation changes.


David Wright with University of Florida reported:

  • Estimated acres 170,000
  • Acreage may be slightly more as it was dry at the end of cotton planting season. 
  • O6G main variety with 331 and GA 12Y continues to grow in popularity due to yield in stress situations.
  • Both 331 and 12Y do well in stress situations since they produce a lot of vine and have high yield capability. Many people are learning how to manage 12Y, plus it can be planted early due to the disease resistance. 
  • Crop condition: Been good growing season overall so far. There are some spots that have been a little too dry and some too wet but overall a good season to this point. 
  • Harvest is starting in Levy county area and Ocala.  Most of the panhandle will be in September.
  • Yield potential: Could make a near-record yield if weather holds.

Arkansas and Missouri

Travis Faske with the University of Arkansas reported:

  • Estimated acres for Arkansas at 38,000 and Missouri at 10,000.
  • 80% Ga O6G and 20% high-oleic 09B, TUF 297 and FloRun 331. O6G has been a good standard especially for new growers.
  • Main problems: Availability of high quality seed and the cool start, which contributed to spotty stands.
  • Harvest should start mid-September.
  • Yield potential: "Overall, good to excellent. Too early to guess on yield, but nothing leads me to believe we will be below our normal average," Faske says.
  • Concerns: Abnormally dry conditions across the Mid-South. Disease pressure has been low with some early leaf spot and southern blight. Excessive vine growth may slow down harvest slightly as more vines are fed through the picker.


Brendan Zurweller with Mississippi State reported:

  • Estimated acres between 23,000 to 25,000 acres.
  • Mostly Ga-06G with 2% to 3% 297 and 331.
  • High oleic premium helps, but the 331 takes about 7-10 more days to reach optimal harvest timing over 06G in the northern part of the state.
  • Main problems: Stand issues, and rain has been hit or miss. Some fields are getting dry while othes are catching storms. Southeast part of the state has had rain almost every day the last two weeks. White mold has started showing up.
  • Harvest will start mid-September.
  • Mostly optimisic about yield. Dry areas are getting cut but has been excellent up until now, minuse a few isolated stand issues.


Emi Kimura with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension reported:

  • Estimated acres 180,000.
  • Ga-09B, Span17, AT9899 and Wynne.
  • Yield potential remains high with 09B, and producers like the vigor and final plant size. Disease resistance is in question.
  • Drought is main concern, and irrigation capacity along with the market.
  • Harvest should start in October.
  • Yield potential is hurting from the drought, especially in west Texas. August rainfall would help maximize the yield, but the window for maximizing the yield potential is shortening.
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