As peanut harvest winds down across the Southwest, producers are making average or better than average yields with Oklahoma looking at possible record production.
Texas peanut harvest is “progressing nicely,” says Texas AgriLife Extension plant pathologist and peanut specialist Jason Woodward.
He estimates about 75 percent of the crop has been harvested statewide as producers “finish up in the High Plains and Rolling Plains. Yields and quality are at or a little above average,” Woodward says.
Peanut producers battled weeds all year long but disease issues “were tolerable with some late season pod rot, especially black hull, which was obvious at harvest.”
He said moderate conditions during June and July set the stage for a good crop. He also noted that August irrigation is “essential for maximizing yield and grade.”
Texas farmers planted 120,000 acres in peanuts this year with 5 percent of those planted to Valencias, 25 percent in Spanish, 25 percent in runner type and 45 percent in Virginia market-type peanut varieties.
Oklahoma peanut farmers are looking at what could be “the best crop they ever raised,” says Mike Kubicek, Executive Secretary, Oklahoma Peanut Commission. “I think we could be over 3,800 pounds per acre,” he says. Quality also looks good. “Grades appear to be above average at this point. We have been cautiously optimistic based on the near ideal growing season and the one crop set. We were spared the triple-digit heat during the peak pegging time frame we have experienced in years past.”
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Rainfall has been adequate and rain this week helped break a recent dry spell. “We got some great rain totals, from 1 inch to 2 inches all across the peanut portions of the state last night (Monday) that will give everyone a little breather.”
Harvest is well underway and “moved very quickly last week with warm temperatures and high winds.” Kubicek says fresh dug peanuts field-cured quickly under those conditions. “We are perhaps 75 percent complete with a lot of trailered peanuts on the farm to be delivered to the buying points in the coming days. Hopefully, we can finish harvest without freeze concerns. Combines should be back in the field by Thursday or Friday.
Oklahoma farmers planted 11,336.69 acres of peanuts, according to Farm Service Agency certified reports. Market types, break down as: 45 percent Virginias, 31 percent Runners, and 24 percent Spanish. “The market type mix and the limited acres planted were a factor of the Sheller contract offerings and non-offerings.”
Kubicek says 99 percent of the state’s peanuts are irrigated.