In 2015, over 70,000 acres of peanuts were planted in the Suwannee Valley area of Lafayette County, with a value of approximately $53 million. However, in the past few years peanut prices have been dropping, from over $600 per ton in 2012 to only $400 per ton in 2015. These lower peanut prices can be attributed to several factors, including substantially higher yields, lower returns for other commodities, and changes in the 2014 Farm Bill that makes peanuts more economically attractive. Unfortunately, peanut producers have no control over prices, but they can control production costs in order to stay economically viable. Thus, area agents, state specialists, and the staff of the UF/IFAS Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center have been conducting trials to compare the effectiveness of lower and higher cost fungicides on peanuts. After the plots were harvested, weighed, and graded, no significant difference in yield or grade was noted between the higher and lower cost spray programs. However, using the lower-cost fungicides led to a significant savings of $45 per acre. It's just one of the many ways UF/IFAS brings the resources of the University of Florida to the people of Lafayette County.
UF/IFAS Photo by Chris Vann