Peanut production by U.S. farmers is expected to increase almost 1 billion pounds from last year — going from 5.18 billion pounds to 6.17 billion — based on the latest USDA Crop Production Report.
Industry observers speculate that growers boosted acreage significantly due to a perceived advantage created in the 2014 farm bill.
Georgia farmers added nearly 200,000 acres, for a total of 780,000 compared to 589,000 in 2014. Production estimates indicate Georgia farmers will average 4,400 pounds per acre — up from 4,135 pounds in 2014 — and that they will produce a total of 3.43 billion pounds, an increase from 2.4 billion pounds last year.
Alabama comes in a distant second, with 709.2 million pounds estimated for the 2015 crop, up from 544.9 million last year. Acreage increased from 173,000 last year to 197,000, and yield improved from 3,150 pounds to 3,600 pounds.
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Florida peanut farmers will produce 567.6 million pounds, down from 668 million last year. Acreage at 172,000 acres is up from 167,000 a year ago. Average yield is off — 3,300 pounds per acre, compared to 4,000 pounds last year. Florida yield average dropped by 100 pounds from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1.
Texas is estimated to produce 531.3 million pounds from 161,000 harvested acres. Both numbers are up significantly. In 2014, Texas harvested 459.7 million pounds from 127,000 acres. Average yield for 2015 is estimated at 3,300 pounds per acre, down from 3,620 last year, and off from the 3,600-pound Oct. 1 projection.
CAROLINAS LOSE ACREAGE
South Carolina acreage declined, dropping from 108,000 acres last year to 100,000 this year. Production will be off more than 100 million pounds — 300 million pounds in 2015, compared to 410 million last year. Average yield, at 3,000 pounds per acre, is off from 3,800 last year and 3,400 on Oct. 1.
North Carolina peanut producers will also make fewer pounds this year — 338.2 million pounds in 2015, compared to 401.8 million in 2014. Acreage dropped from 93,000 last year to 89,000 this year. Average yield, at 3,800 pounds per acre, is off from the 4,320 pounds last year, and down from the 4,000 pounds predicted Oct. 1.
Mississippi farmers added 11,000 acres this year, harvesting 42,000 acres and producing an estimated 168 million pounds, with an average yield of 4,000 pounds per acre — the same yield as last year and the same as last month’s estimate. Production last year was 124 million pounds.
Virginia will produce 76 million pounds from 19,000 acres, the same harvested acreage as last year, but with a drop in production from last year’s 84.5 million pounds. Average yield this year is expected to be 4,000 pounds per acre, off from 4,450 last year.
Oklahoma acreage dropped from 11,000 to 9,000; production, at 35.1 million pounds, is down from 44 million pounds last year. Yields are estimated at 3,900 pounds per acre, down slightly from 4,000 pounds last year, but up from 3,800 pounds estimated last month.
New Mexico farmers are harvesting 5,000 acres, a slight jump from 4,500 last year. The production estimate indicates a 15.5 million-pound crop, down from 15.8 million pounds last year. Average yield is expected to be 3,100 pounds per acre, down from 3,500 last year.
U.S. acreage, at 1.57 million, is up from 1.3 million last year. Average yield for the 2015 crop is projected at 3,922 pounds per acre, down 1 pound from last year, and off slightly from the 3,997 pounds estimated in October.