We have fortunately been an island of dryness on the Florida peninsula among a sea of rainfall in the Southeast. This has allowed good harvesting conditions in October and November. Area farmers have some work to do to get in their late soybean and sorghum crops, but conditions have been favorable. Local fields have been planted to winter forages for beef cattle and most could use a shower to stimulate growth, as the warm weather has been ideal. This weather pattern, however, is quite unique in the Southeast as farmers from Louisiana to the Carolinas have struggled with wet conditions.
This rainy weather has been like hitting a brick wall to harvesting operations across the Southeast. This comes as we enter the second half of November and a front carrying more rain is forecast in the days ahead. Farmers were expected to harvest a 3.1 million ton peanut crop and the challenging conditions have been a setback. Buying points report only 78% of the peanut crop is accounted for to date. Specifically, farmers have delivered 2.41 million tons of peanuts so far. Farmers know all too well, that the crop isn’t harvested until it is in the basket, and their failure and success is dictated on the weather. To demonstrate how quickly good fortune can change with the weather, I share two summaries from the Peanut Farm Market News the last several weeks. These reports show that the first 75% of the peanut crop came hard and fast, and the last 25% has failed to transpire in recent weeks.
10/23/15. The Southeast has experienced perfect peanut harvesting weather the last two weeks and buying points report completing the problem fields harvested early that stayed on the ground for about two weeks. Buying Points report farmers getting into good peanuts, those planted a little late and yields and quality are fantastic. Many buying points are reporting a shortage of trailers and farmers having to wait until trailers are available. Government graders are working overtime to keep up with peanuts arriving around the clock. As one buying point said, “You just have to be patient, I’m sending trailers and trucks as soon as they are emptied.” No rain is expected in the region until late next week and the peanut crop should be about 75% harvested …we are moving. One buying point said, “We could use a good shower!!!”
11/17/15. Weather continues to impact the final 25% of the U.S. peanut crop. Rains last week in the Southeast slowed harvest and some sunshine the last two days have farmers frantic trying to beat another rainy front targeting the SE and VC Wednesday and Thursday. Cost of drying the high moisture peanuts will cost farmers. Heavy machinery has been bogging down and farmers with lots of peanuts remaining in the field are in trouble.
While local conditions have been quite the anomaly, the Southeast has seen its share of “El Nino-like” conditions so far this fall. I wish good luck and good conditions to those fighting the weather to feed, clothe, and fuel the world.