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Agricultural News

Last Year's Peanuts Need to Move Out to Make Way for This Year's Crop, Tyron Spearman Says

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:40:30 CDT

Last Year's Peanuts Need to Move Out to Make Way for This Year's Crop, Tyron Spearman Says
Attendees at last week's Peanut Expo at Quartz Mountain heard from Tyron Spearman, editor of the Peanut Farmer Magazine and the Peanut Newsletter, that 2012 was a pretty good growing season nationally as well as here in Oklahoma. He said high yields have left the industry with a problem as planting season approaches. The problem is trying to get this year's surplus moved out ahead of next year's crop.

"We are moving as fast as we can. Shellers are operating at capacity right now. The export market is bumped up and stepping up and buying peanuts, not only in Europe, but also in China which is the first time we've been able to tap that market."

Spearman believes that Oklahoma peanut farmers have a good chance to get decent contracts for the 2013 growing season.

"I think Oklahoma's in good shape because they grow some varieties that we need in the market-the high oleic, which gives a better shelf life of the peanut, that's in high demand. Also the Spanish; we've got a shortage of the Spanish. We've got too many runners grown in the Southeast. I think the Oklahoma boys are probably in the best shape of any state in the nation as far as new varieties in production this coming year."

Over the last few years there has been a real battle for acres for spring-planted crops, corn and soybeans and cotton, especially. Cotton has been something of a loser. Wheat has also seen some shrinkage. But, when it comes to peanut acreage, Spearman believes there is enough market incentive to keep acreage up and entice new producers to step in.

"We're not a big commodity, but we do need peanuts. We need about 2.2 million tons produced every year. That's about 1,200,000 acres of peanuts we have to have to fill this market and the export market. Now, we have to compete against the cotton price, which is approaching 90 cents a pound, compete against corn at $7 and soybeans at $12. So, that land competition is what will set the price on peanuts this year, especially in the Southeast where we can grow corn, cotton, or peanuts."

Peanut growers were generally favorable toward Frank Lucas in 2012 when he said a farm bill needed to include all producers, not just the shallow-loss program being pushed by Midwestern producers. Spearman believes peanut growers will continue to fight hard and support efforts to get a new five-year farm bill passed in 2013.

"Peanuts are a part of the farm bill. We're in there with all the other commodities. We hope they will give us a five-year bill. Our goal is a $355 per ton loan rate. We want to keep the loan program so we can have a place to put our peanuts at harvest and not get zero. Then you have a reference price which we hope will be $534. If peanuts don't average $534, you'll qualify on your base for a payment. Right now, peanuts are above that and the government doesn't help, it just protects us a little bit. And we just don't want to have no safety net when it comes to peanuts."



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