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Peanut Yields About Average Despite 'Rough' August

18 December 2013

US - With about 120,000 to 125,000 acres harvested, and about average yields, this year’s peanut crop is certainly much better than it has been the past few growing seasons, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“Starting off, it was geared to be an above-average year, but I feel a rough August cost us a little bit of yield,” said Dr Jason Woodward, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist and statewide peanut specialist, Lubbock.

Peanuts require a lot of water, as much as 2 feet per acre, much of which usually comes from irrigation, he said. But given pumping costs and water table levels and the need for higher quality, growers also rely on rainfall to supplement irrigation, and August was drier and hotter than normal.

Still, Woodward expects yields to be in the range of 3,800 to 4,200 pounds per acre.

“Still a little above-average year, and much better off than we’ve been the last two years,” he said.

Peanut production in Texas peaked in the 1990s, with as much as 300,000 acres grown annually, he said. For the last 10 years, competition for other crops, such as cotton, and the water needs of peanuts, have brought the average yearly production down to about 125,000 acres.

Increasing feral hog damage has also been a discouragement for peanut growers, he said. A troop of feral hogs, which is called a sounder, can root up several acres overnight. They may attack the crop at all stages of production, from planting to pegging to digging.

“Feral hogs like peanuts for the same reason people do,” Woodward said. “They’re high in protein and essential oils.”

Most Texas peanuts are grown in the High Plains and Rolling Plains; however, Frio and Atascosa counties account for 15 to 20 percent of acres, he said. Harvesting times for peanuts in Texas are opposite of other crops. Harvesting begins first in the High Plains, followed shortly thereafter in the Rolling Plains.

“Central Texas is later, and harvesting typically concludes in South Texas, as they can plant later,” he said. “Overall, I would say peanut harvest is nearly complete.”

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