Virus impacting peanut crops in Georgia

Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:22 PM EDT
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Farmers who are harvesting this year’s peanut crop may have serious damage from a virus that has nothing to do with COVID-19.

As farmers dig up their peanuts for drying and harvesting, Dr. Bob Kemerait noticed problems.

“This is a field that’s hit as hard by white mold and tomato spotted wilt virus basically as bad as I’ve ever seen,” UGA Professor Dr. Bob Kemerait said.

And it’s not just this field and not just in Bulloch County. South Georgia farmers have irrigation on only about 25 percent of their land. That means peanuts like these rely on getting enough rainfall and at the right time.

“Dry weather...early on, we had wet weather. But when it got dry, it got hot and dry,” Extension Agent Bill Tyson said.

Farmers need rainfall to grow the peanuts but also carry sprays and chemicals into the ground to treat problems like mold and spotted wilt virus. Both say fields with these problems won’t have the yields farmers hoped for when they planted this crop back in the spring.

Tyson says this crop may end up like many other things in 2020, something you want to forget and look to next year.

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