Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on November 13, 1998. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Drought, Hurricane Hurt Peanut Crop
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of this year's peanut crop depended at harvest on how far away it was from Hurricane Georges, but all areas suffered from drought in the growing season.
Joe Morgan, owner of M&M Farms in Forrest County, said overall yields on his 1,090 acres of peanuts were about the lowest he has ever gotten. His 8-year average yield is 3,334 pounds an acre. This year he averaged 3,013 on irrigated land and less than 2,000 pounds on non-irrigated land.
"This year I should break even," Morgan said. "If it hadn't been for Hurricane Georges, we would have had about 3,300 pounds an acre, but without rain, a lot of the non-irrigated peanuts died. Those that survived produced less than a ton an acre, my lowest ever."
After the drought, rain from the hurricane prevented the peanuts from being harvested on time, cutting yields further.
"We lost a lot of peanuts because of Georges," Morgan said. "The ground was real wet, but the peanuts were over-mature, so we had to get them out of the ground."
Morgan, a peanut farmer for eight years, rotates his peanuts with the 1,270 acres of cotton he planted this year.
"You can't plant peanuts year after year," Morgan said. "The ideal is to plant peanuts one year, then corn or cotton for two years. If you have a closer rotation, you can have a disease problem."
Quota peanuts sell for $610 a ton, more if the grade is high. Farmers under contract get about $650 a ton. Additional peanuts under contract can bring about $300 a ton, while those not under contract sell for about $138 a ton.
"What I like about the peanut program is it lets a farmer do what he does best," Morgan said. "You know if you produce a quality peanut, you can get a good price and make some money."
Roger Jones, Perry County Extension agent, said the peanut crop in his county was about 10 to 15 percent lower than average.
"When you have six to eight weeks with dry, dry weather, you're going to get a reduction in growth and loss of yield," Jones said. "Overall, the peanuts turned out pretty well this year despite the weather."
About 65 percent of the Perry County peanut crop was harvested before Hurricane Georges passed through. The six inches of rain caused some harvest problems.
"Due to excessive rainfall from the hurricane, the muddiness of the soil caused many peanuts to be left in the ground during the harvest process," Jones said.