Peanut Harvest

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Hot, dry weather and a disease outbreak may have deprived peanut growers of the bumper crop they expected. But experts say they'll still have plenty of peanuts, although the quality may fall short of last year's excellent crop, which was helped by rainfall from tropical storms.

In response to the drought and disease problems, the US Department of Agriculture has revised its August peanut production estimate from about 2.6 million tons to two-point-five (m) million tons.

The USDA also lowered the yield estimate for all states from an average of 31-hundred and 90 pounds per acre in August to 3,061 pounds per acre this month.

Peanuts in Georgia's official state crop is worth about $338 a year. Georgia farmers provide nearly half the nation's domestic peanut supply. And despite the adversities last month, they still are expected to produce about 1.1 million tons this year, 200,000 tons more than last year.

Peanut specialists say Georgia farmers had nearly ideal growing conditions until late August, when the rains stopped and yields and quality began to suffer. The growers were also hurt by an outbreak of tomato spotted wilt virus, a disease that can weaken and kill peanut plants.