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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:16pm

Record Peanut Crop Expected

Agriculture experts predict a large peanut harvest this year will give South Georgia's economy a boost and lift the dryspell for peanut farms.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts the 2012 peanut harvest will be 45 percent higher than last year's and will top the previous record yield from 2008.

Joe Boddiford will be harvesting his 465 acre peanut farm in Silvania later this month. He credits the rain from Tropical Storm Isaac as a drought lifter that boosted his crop in the last crucial weeks before harvest:

“Peanuts in our area have gotten pretty much ample rainfall at most times particular over the last couple weeks. We’ve gotten some feeder bands off of Isaac and it just changed the weather pattern coming over this area, where overall it’s a good looking peanut crop for this year.”

The total U-S harvest should be more than 5.3 billion pounds with Georgia providing 55 percent of the increase in this year's production. Every peanut must go through a buying point and be inspected, weighed and certified. Tyron Spearman, with the U.S. Buying Points Association, says Georgia’s buying locations are hiring more than 800 people for the inspection process:

“The inspectors are all over the Southeast, have to come in and inspect these peanuts, it’s going to mean more jobs hauling peanuts, they have to be hauled to various warehouses and inspected by the federal government so that’s going to mean more jobs.”

Industry experts expect the large crop to drive the price of peanut products down for consumers.