Peanut Planting

Peanut planting has begun across the Wiregrass area and farmers are hoping they'll have better luck than they did during the roller coaster year of 2002.

Farmers are off to a good start this year, but that could change if the weather refuses to cooperate.

Recent rains have peanut farmers scrambling to get seed in the ground. They're hoping to take advantage of existing moisture that could help them produce a good stand and help them get a jump on the summer growing season.

Last year, the month of May and most of June were bone-dry and many farmers were forced to replant. Then, after a decent growing season, peanut producers still lost much of their crop because of heavy rains during the harvest.

Add in a new peanut program that cut peanut prices in half and some farmers are getting out of the peanut business. But acreage is expected to be down only slightly over last year.

Peanut farmers will learn if their efforts will pay off in about four months. As always, the peanut harvest will begin around the first of September.

Alabama farmers planted about 200,000 acres of peanuts last year.