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Story in Brief

The value of a farmer’s peanuts is determined by the grade and yield of the peanuts. Research by scientists with the National Peanut Research lab show digging three weeks too early or too late can result in a 30 percent reduction in yield potential. Premature harvest also reduces the grade of the peanuts. It is critical to dig peanuts when optimal maturity is reached to maximize both the yield and grade of peanuts, which will result in maximizing profits for producers. The primary way to evaluate maturity is by using the Peanut Pod Blasting Method, developed by UGA scientists. The service is free and helps the farmers maximize profits. It gives the farmer the optimum time to dig for the best yield and grade. UGA Cooperative Extension offers peanut maturity evaluations to peanut producers to help determine optimum harvest dates for their crop. For the 2019 peanut growing season, the Burke County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent[s] evaluated over 250 samples. Taking into consideration Burke County’s average peanut yield is 3,950 pounds per acre, potential losses of 1,314 pounds per acre could be realized when producers decide to dig prematurely. Across the 18,000 acres of peanuts harvested from 2019, that is a loss of nearly 24 million pounds with an estimated value of almost $5 million. Each year the Atkinson County Extension agent blasts about 125 samples or more. In 2019, Atkinson County had 11,000 acres of peanuts. If a farmer gains 200 pounds per acre at a price of $400 per ton, they can gain another $40 per acre just by harvesting at the right time. Farmers can also get a little extra premium for a better grade. This total equates to $440,000 for the farmers in Atkinson County.