March 23, 2011 Edition

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State's first peanut production meeting held

Gretchen Hunt

Walnut Ridge was the site for the state's first peanut production meeting on Friday as approximately 30 gathered at the Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative.

Herb Ginn, Lawrence County Extension staff chair, said county agents, specialists, peanut company representatives and farmers from both Lawrence and Randolph counties attended.

Dr. Scott Monfort, extension plant pathologist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, was among those who spoke at the meeting.

"Arkansas growers are interested in giving peanuts a try encouraged by companies seeking to expand their peanut sources as long-time growing areas in the west are drying up," Monfort said.

Monfort, who had experience with peanuts in Georgia, where he worked before moving to Arkansas, worked with Arkansas growers last season, as did Ginn.

In 2010, there were about 800 acres of peanuts grown in Arkansas, a tiny percentage of farm production when compared with crop giants like cotton, soybeans and rice that covered nearly 5.5 million acres. That number is expected to grow this year, though, according to Ginn.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture was also represented at the meeting by Bob Scott, extension weed scientist, and Jeremy Ross, extension agronomist-soybeans.

In addition, five specialists from the University of Georgia were available via videoconference to discuss peanut production.

"I believe our growers gained critical information for peanut production from the specialists at the University of Georgia," Ginn said. "Practically all areas of production were covered including fertility, weed control, irrigation, disease control, planting practices and harvest."

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