Area farmers will soon start harvesting this years peanut crop. Last years harvest was one of the areas best ever, and farmers are watching the weather hoping this years crop will be just as good. Farmers actually planted thirty percent fewer peanuts this year, in part because of last years bumper crop.
In a typical year, the peanut harvest would be in full swing. But the delay in planting may turn out to be a case of good timing. The state received around ten inches of rain in May, creating two planting times, with most farmers planting after the May rains. Those crops are now in the last stages of maturing. Larry Wells, the director of the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in Headland says the wet year has helped the peanut crop.
“Since about the first of July, we've had plenty of rain here at the station and the peanut crop looks good. We're not quite done yet. We're not ready to dig yet for the most of them, but overall the crops look good.”
The record crop of 2008 created an excess of peanuts and lowered the price for peanuts for this year. Farmers expect the per acre yield to be lower than last year, but Wells said the rainy year has not had a big negative impact...
“I haven't seen any real severe problems, a little bit heavier this year than last year. Just simply because of the environment...the rain.”
Now, farmers are nearing a crucial time with the peanuts. The farmers welcomed the rain the last few days but that will change when the tractors start moving to harvest the peanuts the first week in October.
Cotton, the other big crop in our area, also needs the rain now, but cotton farmers will also be looking for sunny skies in the next two to three weeks to insure that the cotton crops develop fully.