2003 Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards

Roger Neitsch cites rotation as the No.1 factor in a peanut base yield of 5,800 pounds per acre. In 2002 he did better than that, more than 6,000 pounds over his entire 300-acre crop.

Close behind his four-year rotation scheme, he lists timing, fertility, disease control, irrigation and minimum-tillage as key ingredients for consistent yields. It’s an efficient system, he says. Neitsch raises peanuts, cotton, small grains and forage crops in Gaines County, Texas, and says that crop mix provides a good base for a four-year rotation.

Mike Newberry says the best strategy for producing peanuts efficiently is to stay on offense.

“We have to do everything on time, and we have to do it right the first time,” says the Early County, Georgia, grower. “You start to spend extra money whenever you’re forced to play catch-up. If a problem does arise, you must react quickly. You have to play offense instead of defense.”

A fourth-generation farmer, he grows peanuts, cotton and corn on Hillside Farms. It has proven to be a good crop mix, he says, for a three-year rotation.

Much like a long-term engagement, Ricky Kneece started out slow with peanuts. Four years later, he’s glad he did. It’s helped him learn how to grow the crop and produce consistent yields and quality.

Before 1999, he and his father, Delano, were cotton, soybean, wheat and corn growers in Lexington County, S.C. Today, they’re on the vanguard of new peanut production in. In addition to paying attention to and following Extension recommendations of one of the Clemson University peanut specialists, Kneece benefits from new drying technology, no-till and irrigation.

After starting out small with 40 acres of peanuts, Kneece will grow 379 acres this season. Last year, he had average yields of 5,300 pounds per acre on 350 acres.

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