U.S. peanut production up slightly from last year

The latest USDA peanut crop estimate shows production forecast at 3.47 billion pounds, up slightly from last year. The area for harvest is expected to total 1.19 million acres, down 2 percent from last year, and yields are expected to average 2,913 pounds, up 50 pounds from the 2006 crop.

Production in the Southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, is expected to total 2.47 billion pounds (1,236,050 tons), down by about 2 percent from last year's level. Expected area for harvest, at 866,000 acres, is down 7 percent from 2006. Yields in the region are expected to average 2,855 pounds per acre or about 145 pounds above2006.

In Georgia, where more than half of the U.S. crop is grown, production is forecast at 1.59 billion pounds or 1 percent less than in 2006. Yield per harvested acre is forecast at 3,050 pounds, up 270 pounds from a year ago. The good yield is a reflection of showers in late August, early September and irrigation. By the end of October, harvesting progress was about a week behind normal.

As of Oct. 28, peanut harvest was 55 percent complete in Alabama, 80 percent complete in Florida, and 57 percent complete in Georgia. Alabama lagged behind its five-year average by 22 percentage points, while Florida and Georgia lagged their five-year averages by 11 and 21 points, respectively. Peanut harvest in South Carolina, at 84 percent complete, was ahead of the five-year average by 10 points.

Virginia-North Carolina peanut production is forecast at 279 million pounds, down14 percent from 2006. Expected area for harvest, at 113,000 acres, is up12 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 2,470 pounds per acre, down 730 pounds from 2006. As of Oct. 28, peanut harvest was 90-percent complete in North Carolina and 80-percent complete in Virginia, 8 percentage points ahead of their five-year averages.

Southwest peanut production, including New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, is expected to total 715 million pounds (357,600 tons), unchanged from last month but up 15 percent from 2006. The expected area for harvest in the region totals 211,000 acres, up 18 percent from 2006. Yields are expected to average 3,390 pounds per acre for the region, down 77 pounds from last year's level. On Oct. 28, peanut harvest was 56-percent complete in Oklahoma and 49-percent complete in Texas. Harvest was ahead of the five-year average by 2 percentage points in Oklahoma and 9 points in Texas.

Other U.S. crop production includes corn production, up 25 percent from 2006 to 13.2 billion bushels. All cotton production is down 13 percent from last year to 18.9 million 480-pound bales. Soybeans were down 19 percent from last year's record high of 2.60 billion bushels.

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