At a recent farm show meeting, farmers were asking.  What are we going to do now? Cotton and corn prices are lower than the cost of production.  Soybean prices look better, but a farmer knows that soybeans are not welcomed in a peanut rotation. The big question for Tyron, “What do you think peanuts will do in 2024?” 

    I don’t have the answer.  The answer lies in the negotiations of the farmer, the sheller and his financier.  Most farmers hope that 2024 will be better than 2023.  The 2023 crop was hammered with problems from start to finish, but fortunately ended with a respectful total tons, but yield and grades were down all across the peanut belt.

    In Georgia, peanut yields were down 1500 lbs per acre on irrigated.  Dryland fields were unusually mixed, some good and some bad.  Grades were down with an average of 72.6: 40 % were below the average grade and only 19% were 76 grade or better.  Season long drought damage was unusual this year with West Georgia, Alabama and West Florida hardest hit with lower yields and grades. The harvest conditions created more Seg 2’s and SEG 3’s.   East Georgia and East Florida yielded better grades and grew later in the season.                        

     Describing the U.S. peanut market this year is similar to last year. Shellers were having to be cautious early season knowing that the crop was in trouble and could be a disaster.  Most of the shellers were not actively offering but $525 per ton and as harvest started, most added a $25 bonus per ton recognizing that production costs had increased.  Shellers were waiting on the more definite numbers of tons delivered and quality shell-out.

      Buying points reported that farmers think the crop is short and with cost increasing, uncontracted farmer stock prices should increase.  Some buying points report paying $600+ per ton for farmer stock mainly matching offers by competing buying points. Some farmers optioned to place the peanuts in the market loan convinced that the prices will increase. 

      Shellers were reluctant to lock in large volumes with buyers. There are smaller size kernels and prices for larger grades will maintain a strong premium throughout the season.  One factor different from last year is overall quality.  The quality this year is mixed and shellers will ask premiums for tight specs this year.

      FSIS reports the total tonnage as of mid December is 2,817,005 tons, 94.2% of the November estimate of 2,991,580 tons. USDA predicted the 2023/24 peanut yield at 3,740 pounds per acre from 3,905 pounds per acre.  The unchanged harvested acreage forecast was 1.6 million acres, up 16 % from the previous year.

      With a lower peanut production forecast for MY 2023/24, total peanut use is reduced by 150 million pounds with peanut crush down 50 million pounds and exports down 100 million pounds. Ending stocks are reduced by 114 million pounds to 2.0 billion pounds or 1 million tons, similar to MY 2022/23.

      Good news from the USDA report shows Domestic Food usage up 3.7%.  Exports were also up 4.5%.  Ending stocks of 1.01 million tons will remain same as last year. 

      Raw peanuts in primary products are up 1.73% compared to August- Oct of 2023.  Peanut butter continues to set new records with volumes of raw shelled, UP 4.8% increase for the three month period compared to the same 3-months last year.  Peanut use in candy and snacks were about the same as last year. 

      U.S. peanut exports for the year-to-date through July increased 6.8% by volume. Total exports reached 316,283 metric tons, valued at $489 million.

      Mexico remains the top international market for U.S. peanuts, with shipments increasing 0.4% by volume to 88,134 MT. China surpassed Canada as the second largest importer of U.S. peanuts for the year-to-date.  A drought in Argentina and Brazil will lower their exports as more inquiries are being reported by U.S. shellers.

      One factor in peanut market watch is the PLC (Price Loss Coverage)payment from the peanut program.  That means the peanut program is no longer providing direct assistance to the producer.  USDA reported that the effective reference price for peanuts is $.2675 per pound or $535 per ton.  The Market Price Average ($540 per ton) must be deducted from the Reference Price ($535 per ton). That’s impossible, so that means the PLC payment for 22-23 is $0.  The US Peanut Federation has been pleading for Congress to increase the Reference Price however the response had been, “No new funds are available.” 

       The peanut industry is in a good position with prices higher at all levels hopefully offsetting increase costs.  Scientists report of new varieties being introduced that are resistant to nematodes, white mold, and tomato spotted wilt virus, some yielding 7000 lbs per acre.  Now I feel optimistic about the future, so back to the negotiations for 2024 crop.


2023 Est. Peanut Acreage (+17%)              1,640,000 acres

2023 Est. Peanut Production (3,740 #/ac)    2,991,500 tons

2023 Market Loan 2022-2023                        2,294,257 tons

2022-23 In Loan (12-8-23)                                    2,033 tons

2023 -24 Domestic Usage (3 Mo.)                  UP +1.73 %

2023 Exports (Jan-July) (7 Mo)                        UP +  6.81%

Posted Price (12-5-23) Runners -$425.29 ton, Spanish - $413.12 ton. Valencia and Virginias - $431.71