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The 2011 peanut crop in the United States was forecast to be down significantly from the large crop in 2010, according to estimates released Sept. 12 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Production for 2011 was estimated at just under 3.5 billion pounds, compared to nearly 4.2 billion pounds in 2010.

Yields this year suffered “from high temperatures and extreme drought conditions in many peanut-producing states,” the release noted.

Georgia is by far the largest-producing state, with 2011 volume estimated at around 1.6 billion pounds, down from nearly two billion pounds in 2010.

Florida and Georgia ranked second and third according to this year’s estimates, at 471 million pounds and 434 million pounds respectively. Texas, which held the No. 2 spot last year with 587 million pounds, was estimated to have produced less than half that volume this year, dropping to fourth place.

Other leading peanut producing states are North Carolina, which enjoyed a volume increase this year and a fifth-place ranking, followed by South Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Mississippi and New Mexico.