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Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 11:20am

Farmers May Swap Soy For Peanuts

Updated: 2 years ago.
A soybean field (photo: IITA Image Library via flickr)

Soybeans may occupy more acres in Georgia next year if prices continue their unprecedented rise.

Soybean Futures hit an all-time high at the Chicago Board of Trade on Tuesday, but soy has never been a favorite of Georgia farmers who generally find peanuts, corn and cotton more profitable.

With the Midwestern soy crop suffering from drought and China gobbling up global supply, priorities may shift next year, says University of Georgia Extension economist Nathan Smith.

“With soybeans being in short supply [...] the prices have become much more attractive for Georgia row crop producers,” Smith said.

Georgia is the nation's top peanut producer, and that's part of the reason farmers normally don't like to grow soybeans. Both crops are legumes, so they don't rotate well.

All the more reason, Smith says, why soy might muscle in on Georgia's iconic crop.

"You may see some peanuts get displaced even by soybeans,” Smith said.

As for this year’s crop, Smith says those areas in southern Georgia that already grow soy have had their own drought problems. The upcoming harvest may be mixed.