One of the biggest unknowns heading into spring planting season has been how peanut acreage will respond to weakened demand and the recent Salmonella outbreak.

According to USDA's first planting intentions report of 2009, growers will reduce their peanut acres by 27 percent.

The report states that peanut growers intend to plant 1.12 million acres this year, as record production in 2008 and concerns about future demand continue to plague the industry.

Peanut growers in the Southeast (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina) intend to plant 855,000 acres in 2009, compared with 1.13 million acres planted in 2008. In Georgia, the largest peanut producing state, planted acreage is expected to decline by 28 percent from last year.

Growers in the Southwest (New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) intend to plant 182,000 acres 36 percent from the previous year. Plantings in the Virginia-North Carolina region are expected to total 87,000 acres, down 29 percent from 2008.