Farm bill, crop tips & awards highlight annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show
Jennifer Whittaker, GFB News
A farm bill update, crop management tips, peanut community awards and new equipment displays highlighted the 42nd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference. More than 1,300 attendees turned out for the Jan. 18 event hosted by the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
GPC political consultant Bob Redding provided a Washington update at the event. Redding said he expects the U.S. House & Senate Ag Committees to mark up the next farm bill some time before the end of March.
“Both Agriculture Committee Chairmen Rep. Mike Conway and Sen. Pat Roberts want to pass the farm bill on time,” Redding said.
Redding reported that Berrien County peanut grower Tim McMillan testified before the House Agriculture Committee last April and Mitchell County grower Meredith McNair Rogers testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee last July in support of maintaining the peanut provisions of the 2014 farm bill and the price loss coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. Both McMillan and Rogers testified on behalf of the GPC and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
During seminars presented by members of the UGA Extension Peanut Team, peanut growers received insight on factors that cost them crop yield last year.
“Fifty percent of Georgia’s peanut acreage is irrigated and in a large portion of our irrigated acres we lost an average of 650 pounds per acre in yield,” UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Montfort told Georgia Farm Bureau media when summarizing the yield problems Georgia growers experienced last year.
Fluctuating temperatures during the early part of the growing season could have contributed to herbicide injury to the crop, while disease pathogens in the last part of the crop season contributed to yield loss in irrigated peanut acreage, Montfort said.
“This past year was a little tough on us, but we did make a record crop in Georgia overall because we had such a great crop on dryland peanuts, which made between 4,500 to 5,500 pounds per acre in some places,” Montfort said. “Georgia got good rain in June and July through the peak bloom period and again in late August that helped finish off the dryland crop. But water could have enhanced pegging problems in the crop.”
Despite yield losses in the 2017 peanut crop used for edible consumer products, Montfort said peanuts grown last year to produce seed peanuts for this year were excellent.
“We had a great quality crop around the taproot so we’re starting the 2018 crop year off with better quality seed than we’ve had in ten years,” Montfort said. “The biggest thing I want to stress is take care of your seed. Storage does count. If you pick up your seed early and you can’t plant them right away, keep them in a cool, shaded environment. If temperatures get into the 80s or 90s and you have seed in a van body, trailer or shed, seed quality can be lost. Plant your oldest seed first.”
Montfort also recommends that growers inspect their seed before planting to look for seed contamination, injury or premature germination. He suggested growers take samples of each bag of seed that can be submitted for sampling should a problem arise with the crop later on.
The GPC presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry. Recipients were: Media Award – Craig Harney with WTOC in Savannah; Research & Education Award – Albert Culbreath, UGA plant pathologist; Special Award – Matt Baldwin, a professional bullfighter who has worn the GPC logo on his rodeo costume; Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award – Elton Baldy; and Jeff Johnson, retired president of Birdsong Peanuts, who received the Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to get ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to malnourished children in third-world countries. RUTF is an energy-dense, peanut butter like paste that consists of roasted ground peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals.
The GPC and Agri Supply also honored a peanut grower from each of GPC’s five districts with the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer Award in recognition of the growers’ passion for peanuts and leadership to the peanut community. Winners were: Ike Newberry of Early County; Chip Dorminy of Ben Hill County; Charles Smith Jr. of Jefferson County; Roy Malone of Laurens County; and Dania & Marvin DeVane of Randolph County.
Visit http://bit.ly/18GPCShow to see photos.