Georgia’s top peanut farmers recognized at meeting
By CLINT THOMPSON
JEKYLL ISLAND —
Georgia’s top peanut producers celebrated their accomplishments and thanked the University of Georgia’s Peanut Team for their assistance during the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club meeting, held Aug. 12-14 on Jekyll Island.
“Having UGA’s input really helps out because they give us good recommendations. They tell us what’s working as far as chemicals and what’s not, and show us what we need to be looking out for as far as certain diseases and certain pests,” said Tift County, Georgia, farmer Andrew Grimes.
Grimes, one of 12 farmers recognized at the event for achieving the top yields in the state, produced 6,233.1 pounds per acre on 285.5 acres last year. He was recognized as the District IV winner for the 100-299.9-acre category.
UGA Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort said the 12 winning farmers averaged around 6,500 pounds of peanuts per acre. Compared to the state average of 4,470 pounds per acre, Georgia’s top farmers grew almost a ton above the state average.
“We are very pleased that not only the state faculty, but Extension agents in each county work very much hand in hand with all these growers,” Monfort said. “Producers are using our recommendations, but they’re also providing us with feedback on problematic things going on in their farms. That, in turn, guides some of the research for us.”
The state’s overall winner was Eddie Miller Jr., representing Miller Farms in Seminole County. In the statewide category of farms with 300 or more acres, Miller Farms produced 7,063.1 pounds per acre on 918 acres. In the statewide 100-299-acre category, John Gaines Jr., of Baker County, was the overall winner with 6,935.5 pounds per acre on 138 acres.
“The UGA peanut handbook is one of the major things I use to help me with my planting and spraying and fungicide [application],” Gaines said. “I think UGA is a key player. I love the research they do. UGA plays a big part in my operation.”
Having top farmers like Grimes and Gaines together allows UGA team members to celebrate their accomplishments and provides time for them to talk with producers and receive constructive feedback that’s vital to the state’s future peanut production.
“When you have growers who produce peanuts every year that exceed state average, there are reasons. By talking with these farmers this weekend, we can find out some of those reasons so we can help other growers be just as successful in their farming operations,” Monfort said. “The success of these growers is largely due to their hard work and the support of the whole industry. We truly are proud to celebrate their accomplishments through the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club.”
Along with the UGA Peanut Team, supporters of the peanut achievement club include Bayer, BASF, the American Peanut Shellers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and the National Peanut Buying Points Association.
The 2015-2016 Georgia Peanut Achievement Club winners are:
Highest overall yield in the state, on 100-299 acres: John Gaines Jr., of Baker County, with 6,935.5 pounds per acre on 138 acres
Highest overall yield in the state, on 300 or more acres: Miller Farms, of Seminole County, with 7,063.1 pounds per acre on 918 acres
District I, 100-299 acres: Wesley Webb, of Calhoun County, with 6,475 pounds per acre on 158 acres
District I, 300-699 acres: Sudderth Farms Inc., of Calhoun County, with 6,740.6 pounds per acre on 680 acres
District I, 700 or more acres: Bob McLendon Farms, LLC, of Calhoun County, with 6,070.4 pounds per acre on 1,389.9 acres
District II, 100-299 acres: Matt Bryan, of Baker County, with 6,772.6 pounds per acre on 224.37 acres
District II, 700 or more acres: Jerry Jr. and Jeff Heard Farms, of Baker County, with 6,142.6 pounds per acre on 938.4 acres
District III, 300-699 acres: Hulin Reeves Jr., of Ben Hill County, with 6,237.7 pounds per acre on 581.8 acres
District III, 700 or more acres: Triple K, LLC, Ken and Lisa Hall, of Worth County, with 5,836.1 pounds per acre on 944 acres
District IV, 100-299 acres: Andrew Grimes, of Tift County, with 6,233.1 pounds per acre on 285.5 acres
District IV, 300-699 acres: Art Dorminy, of Irwin County, with 6,558.4 pounds per acre on 303 acres
District IV, 700 or more acres: Sayer Farms, of Irwin County, with 5,614.9 pounds per acre on 797.5 acres
For more information on peanut research from UGA Extension, go to http://extension.uga.edu/agriculture/crops/peanuts/.
Clint Thompson is Public Relations coordinator, University of Georgia Tifton Campus.