Peanut planting was late in areas this year because of the rains, and those fields that were planted have tended to languish during the three weeks of constant rains. You can read more about the effects of the rain on the crop in several articles in this issue of Peanut Grower.
Although management adjustments may be needed because of the excess rains, it is hard to look too unfavorably on the surplus of moisture. Too often it is the lack of rain that is holding back crop progress, and we all know the tap could turn off at any time.
Another tap that continues to flow, but could turn off, is the export market. According to Tyron Spearman, Peanut Grower’s marketing editor, April’s exports were up 18.31 percent over last year. Mexico was the top buyer followed by Canada, China and the Netherlands. A trade war and renegotiation of NAFTA could hurt the export market, but as of now, the market is holding steady.
The export market has continued in part because the total world peanut trade continues to grow. According to the American Peanut Council, in 2017, the total world peanut trade reached $9.4 billion, up 9 percent from the previous record high set in 2016.
The U.S. peanut industry has been able to take advantage of this growth. Since 2012, U.S. exports have increased 81 percent by volume and 43 percent by value, while U.S. market share of world exports grew to 17 percent on average. In 2017, the United States was the world’s fourth largest supplier of peanuts, behind only India, Argentina and China.
Over the past five years, the value of the world peanut trade has increased by almost $500 million, while total volume has increased by 1.5 million metric tons. Being part of a world market that continues to grow is another big positive for the industry. While there are always issues to work on in peanuts and the price could certainly be better, it is hard to be too down overall because of these positives.