Georgia names top peanut growers

The University of Georgia and Syngenta Crop Protection recently recognized the achievement of 16 esteemed Georgia peanut growers at the Sawgrass Marriott Beach Resort in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for their induction into the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club.

The Georgia Peanut Achievement Club, which is coordinated by the University of Georgia and sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, annually inducts four state winners and 12 district winners for producing the state's highest yields.

The 2005 state winners in each category were:

James Gaston of Sumter County in Category I (20-99.9 acres), averaging 4,465 pounds per acre on 49 acres.

Joey Flake of Burke County in Category II (100-299.9 acres), averaging 5,174 pounds per acre on 127 acres.

Al Sudderth of Calhoun County in Category III (300-599.9 acres), averaging 4,489 pounds per acre on 397 acres.

3R Thompson Farms of Seminole County in Category IV (600-plus acres), averaging 4,577 pounds per acre on 923 acres.

Joey Flake received top honors as the overall state winner for the 2005 season.

District winners in Category II were:

Ricky Dowdy and John Gaines, Baker County; Jud Greene, Decatur County; Ken Regan, Calhoun County and Hillside Farms, Early County.

District winners in Category III were:

Longleaf Ridge Farms, Mitchell County, Philip Grimes, Tift County and Hulin Reeves, Jr., Ben Hill County.

District winners in Category IV were:

Mike Grebel, Early County; Keith Griffin, Decatur County; Dewayne Beckum, Calhoun County; Steve and Jack Bailey, Burke County, Al and Rob Merrit, Irwin County.

“We congratulate the 2005 winners on their recent induction into the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club,” said Lyle Stewart, district manager for Syngenta Crop Protection. “The hard work and dedication that brought them great success in 2005 is evident given the adverse weather conditions and significant disease and insect pressures they experienced.”

“Although we ended up making a good crop overall, 2005 was a tough year for many producers,” said John Beasley, Extension peanut agronomist with the University of Georgia. “Excessive wet weather in June, followed by drought and high temperatures in late August and all of September, knocked the bottom out of many producers' yield potential. In addition to the weather problems, a dramatic increase in tomato spotted wilt virus and higher than normal damage from three-cornered alfalfa hopper reduced yields for all producers.”

“It is a testament to the high level of management skills and dedication to producing a high-quality crop that distinguished the 2005 winners of the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club from all other producers,” Beasley said.

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