Hurricanes and Peanuts
Over the last few years, we have held our breath as hurricanes barrel their way toward the southeastern portion of the United States. We see the horrible destruction to human life and structures but our agriculture community does not always get the attention it deserves. Many crops are at risk from a hurricane but in the world of wildlife feed, peanuts are the focus of my concern.
Unless a storm “sits” over an area for an extended period (like Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas!) the rain from the outer bands of a storm are easily absorbed by the sandy soils of peanut acres. Ironically, the timing can be good with August/September storms, as it can relieve the heat stress of peanuts during a critical portion of their growth cycle.
We dodged a bullet with Hurricane Dorian, as it skirted up the edge of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, wreaking most of her havoc in the U.S. on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The dry land producers of Georgia would actually have welcomed some rain, as it has been hot and dry. In fact, the hurricane had a negative impact for producers. The storm fueled itself by drawing moisture out of the Southeast, as it stayed offshore.
We are at a critical juncture for peanuts. Weather forecasts for the southeast keep temperatures in the 90’s+ for the first half of September with minimal chances of rain. Dry land farming could be facing aflatoxin issues unless moisture starts to show up soon.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for rain!