Cross named lead peanut producer in Southampton

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Southampton County’s Gary Cross, left, holds a trophy recognizing his peanut production in 2011 as Chris Drake, extension agent for Southampton County, joins Cross at the podium during the annual meeting of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. -- Stephen H. Cowles | TIdewater News

COURTLAND—Gary Cross harvested more peanuts in Southampton County than any other producer in 2011.

Cross on Tuesday was recognized by the Virginia Peanut Growers Association for his yield of 5,127 pounds per acre; he devoted 110.7 acres to the crop.

Others recognized were Greenfields Farms in Isle of Wight, which produced 5,256 pounds on 65.4 acres; RCR Farms Inc. in Suffolk, 4,356 pounds on 163.8 acres; Calvin Clements of Surry. 5,533 pounds from 117.7 acres; Kevin Monahan of Sussex, 5,610 pounds from 124.6 acres; and Randy Robinson of Greensville, 5,048 pounds from 74.5 acres.

Dell Cotton, executive secretary of the organization, noted that 2011 was “a record-setter” with an average of 4,000 pounds of peanuts per acre.

“It’s incredible considering the weather, especially the rain,” Cotton said. “We’ve had one of the better quality crops. It’s unbelievable. My hat’s off to you.”

He foresees competition from other states, such as Mississippi, which is expected to double its output from last year’s 13,000 to 14,000 pounds per acre. Arkansas also is likely to make its mark.

“Don’t be surprised if South Carolina surpasses North Carolina, and who knows what Georgia’s going to do?” said Cotton.

He added that the situation in West Texas has not improved from last year’s drought.

Held at the Southampton County Fairgrounds, the association’s annual meeting also focused on peanut diseases, updates on varieties, fumigation, insects, agronomy and weed control.

Raffaela Marie Fenn, president and managing director of the National Peanut Board, spoke on the organization’s work in promoting the legume. Strategies include making people aware of its uses in cooking, high nutritional values, reputation-management and export promotion.