With a year that saw regional peanut production receive a break from heavy disease pressure, Texas farmers are seeing strong yields and good grades from some 113,000 acres being harvested.
“Overall, our yields were still good, but I don’t think they were as good as they could have been if we’d had a better August (which was too hot and dry),” says Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, cotton and peanuts, Lubbock.
Yields averaged from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds per acre across most Texas production areas, depending on variety types and irrigation availability. Garry Brown, manager of the Birdsong Peanuts buying point in Memphis, Texas, says runner-type yields averaged 5,000 pounds or more in that region and other areas.
“We had some runners in the mid-5,000 pound range and the grades have been good,” Brown says, adding that yields could have been higher if not for an early freeze in mid-October. Runners are seeing grades at 80 percent to 81 percent, compared to an average grade of about 70 percent, he says.
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According to the November USDA crop production report, Texas growers planted 150,000 acres in 2012 compared to 117,000 acres this year. Harvested acres were 146,000 last year and are projected at 113,000 in 2013. Oklahoma planted 24,000 in 2012 and 18,000 this year. Oklahoma growers harvested 18,000 last year and expect to harvest 17,000 acres this year.
In Texas, yields averaged 3,600 pounds per acre in 2012 and are projected to yield 3,500 in 2013. In Oklahoma, yields averaged 3,650 pounds in 2012 and are forecast at 3,800 this year.
Nationally, farmers planted 1.638 million acres in 2012 and 1.058 million this year. The 2012 harvest was 1.604 million acres and 1.03 million are expected to be harvested this year. The national yield averaged 4,217 pounds last year, compared to a lower yield of 3,787 pounds this year.
More Spanish varieties
Woodward says Spanish yields seem to be improving in the Texas growing area, “but they are still less than we associate with runners.” For 2013, Texas farmers are harvesting about 30,000 acres of Runners, 29,000 acres of Spanish, 40,000 acres of Virginias and about 15,000 acres of Valencias.
Brown says Spanish and Virginia peanuts had a contract price in the $650 per ton range, compared to about $550 for runners. “We had very little disease this year, which really helped,” he says.
Manda Anderson, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Gaines County, says that along with few disease problems, there was little insect pressure for peanuts this year. There were a few reports of pod rot. “But most producers feel they have pod rot under control,” she says.
The best prevention for pod rot or other diseases is to maintain at least a three-year peanut rotation. “Even more years is better,” Anderson says. “That way you don’t have so much disease buildup.
“If producers have a history of pod rot, they should scout fields and get fungicides applied. Then, scout fields weekly or twice a week to determine if a second application is justified.”