Arkansas sesame starting to take some peanut acreage
As with other crops, prices will guide the number of acres planted. If sesame prices go up, acres will likely increase, Faske said. There are other factors too. Farmers need to figure out how much the crop will earn them after the expense of growing it and if there is a rainy fall and they wind up with zero yield, acres in the following years will drop.
Farmers who got in early with Sesaco were able to contract at around 40 cents per pound, though the price has since dropped to the mid-30s. Sesaco’s Peeper said half their crop is exported to Japan – Mitsubishi is a majority owner of the company – and the other half is sold in the United States, mostly for confectionary uses like baking. He is optimistic that, with about 40,000 acres total under cultivation in the southeast this year, there could be 50,000 to 100,000 acres of sesame grown in the region by the next couple of years, much of it in Arkansas.
“Everything’s off to a good start so far,” he said. “We have contracted with an acreage contract to pay for what they produce, so the price doesn’t change much from year to year. It’s a pretty table market year to year. And in another month, the sesame will be four to five feet tall.”