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Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 9:00am

Georgia Peanut Exports Nearly Triple

Export numbers are in for one of Georgia's most important crops.

Farmers sent nearly three times as many peanuts oversees this year than in 2012, though that figure may be a little deceptive.

While it's true there are new foreign markets opening up to Georgia peanuts, this enormous year-over-year jump in exports is a product of mother nature, said Tyron Spearman, executive director of the Peanut Buying Points Association in Tifton.

"We made a bumper miracle crop last year," he said, explaining that the peanuts that get sold in a given year are usually grown the year before.

"We went from about a 3,600 pound average yield per acre to a 4,500 pound average yield per acre, so we had extra peanuts at lower prices and that brought in the world market."

Exports should level off considerably next year, Spearman said.

"This year we're trying to make a comeback, we cut our acreage about 50 percent in Georgia last year to try to balance up the supply and demand," he said. "And they're holding good, we still have lots of peanuts to sell, and hope people will use them for Christmas."

This year marks the first time that China bought more Georgia peanuts than Canada, previously the number one importer. Chinese processors use the bulk of their nuts to produce oil.

Exports to The Netherlands grew an astounding 600 percent. That's in part because The Netherlands function as the port of entry for the European Union market, Spearman said, but also "the Dutch like peanut butter."