Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Peanut Production Review ( Publisher's URL )

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Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Peanut Production Review
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Fact sheet
Whitty, E.B.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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"Revised: September 1997. First published: June 1987."
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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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1.This document is Fact Sheet RF-AC019, one of a series of the Extension Administration Office, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida. Revised: September 1997. First published: June 1987. Please visit the FAIRS Web site at The Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without re g ard to race, color, sex, a g e, handicap, or national ori g in. For information on obtainin g other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean2.E. B. Whitt y professor, A g ronom y Department; D. W. Gorbet, professor, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quinc y ; and T. D. Hewitt, professor, North Florida Research and Ecucation Center, Quinc y Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. Fact Sheet RF-AC019Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Peanut Production Review1 E. B. Whitt y D. W. Gorbet, and T. D. Hewitt2Most of Floridas peanuts are produced in the northernw hen they are delivered to the sheller. Grades are a measure part of the state, with Jackson County accounting for almostof quality and includes sev eral factors. The same grading half of the more than 80,000 acres harvested. Yields havesystem is used for both quota and additional peanuts. averaged almost 2,500 lbs per acre in recent years. are called green or boiling peanuts and are not subject toMarketin g SituationPeanut production is controlled through federal programs. For details, local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices should be contacted. Peanuts may be grown under quota or without a quota. Quotas are based on production history and are used to meet domestic edible demands and currently have a support priceFairly high levels of capital are needed to grow peanuts. of $610 per ton. Seed peanuts, with some minor exceptions,Estimated production costs in 1997 were almost $700 per must be produced under quota. acre for quota peanuts and $475 per acre for additional Non-quota or additional peanuts are generally grown forthat is exp ected with the lower-valued additional peanuts. the export market. They may either be contracted at anUsing these estimated production costs, the price that a agreed upon price with a sheller or they may be placed undergrower would need to receive to break even for his peanuts loan at the time they are delivered to the sheller. Currentat a 2500-lb yield would be 28 cents per lb for quota peanuts loan prices are less than $150 per ton. Contract prices mayand 19 cents per lb for additional peanuts. Break-even exceed the support price, but will vary considerablyprices could be calculated for other yields. depending on international supplies, market demands and other factors. Premiums are usually offered for seed peanuts, high Prices for both quota and additional peanuts will bealong with the costs for special handling, should be affected by grades. Inspectors grade each load of peanutsconsidered when preparing a budget. Peanuts that are harvested and marketed without drying quotas, although plantings must be reported to the local FSA office. Producers of green peanuts must generally arrange their own marketing, which should be done prior to planting the peanuts.Capital and Laborpeanuts. Lower inputs would be the reason for the difference oleic varieties, or other special features. These premiums,


Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Peanut Production Review Pa g e 2September 1997Variable costs for peanut production include fairly highplant one acre of runner or spanish types with 110 to 125 lbs seed costs and considerable use of pesticides. Drying costsper acre for virginia types. are also relatively high. Fixed costs include various pieces of equipment.fertility than to direct fertilization. However, direct Machinery needed to grow peanuts include land preparation fertilization may be needed if residual soil fertility is equipment, planters, sprayers, granule applicators, andi nadequate. An adequate supply of calcium is needed for the harvesting equipment. Drying equipment can, in specialdevelopment of well-filled nuts and to reduce losses to instances, be used for drying other crops. Laborcertain pod rots and other diseases. Boron is generally requirements are minimal for peanut production and usuallyneeded to insure high qu ality peanuts. only entail the time required to operate equipment for land preparation, planting, spraying, harvesting, and drying.Nematodes may reduce yield and quality of peanuts. problems, but nematicides will be needed on certain problemSuitabilit y Peanuts are well suited for growing in north Florida, as they are reasonably tolerant of soil and weather conditions that normally exist in the area. Soils should be well-drained with a pH of about 6. Peanuts should be grown in rotation with perennial grass pastures such as bahiagrass, or with annual grass crops such as corn, millet, or sorghum, or with cotton. Peanuts should not be grown in rotation with soybeans, nor should peanuts be grown continuously on the same land. Nematode and disease problems will normally be easier to control if good rotations are followed. Less than half of Floridas peanuts are irrigated. Irrigation will give a response more often on sandy soils than on heavier soils.VarietiesThere are four market types of peanuts: virginia, runner, spanish, and valencia. Runners are grown on over 90% of Florida's acreage. Current recommended varieties are Florunner, Georgia Green, SunOleic 97R, GK-7 Southern Runner, Marc I, Andru 93, and Georgia Runner. Recommended virginia varieties include NC-7, NC-9, NC 10G and NC V-11. Some shellers offer contracts on specific virginia varieties. Yields of spanish varieties are usually less than expectations for runner or virginia varieties. Tamnut 76, Tamspan 90, and Pronto are recommended spanish varieties. Valancia varieties are usually only grown for special purposes, such as for sale as green peanuts. Georgia Red and New Mexico Valencia A are popular varieties.Cultural PracticesPeanuts are planted in rows 30 to 36 inches apart, but modifications include twin-row plantings or other row arrangements. Usually 75 to 100 lbs of seed are needed to Peanuts often respond as well or better to residual soil Proper crop rotation should help reduce most nematode fields. Insecticides will be needed when insect population reach damaging levels. Scouting fields to determine insecticide needs should be practiced. Normally, one to four insecticide applications will be applied per season. Fungicide applications to prevent leafspot will be required at intervals of 10-14 days beginning 35-40 days after planting, except when the Southern Runner variety is grown. About half the normal number of leafspot sprays will be needed for this variety. Fungicides may be needed for white mold control. Herbicides will be needed to control weeds. Cultivation will also be needed in most fields. Two or more herbicide applications will normally be made, and many include combinations of preplant, preemergence, cracking-time, and postemergence applications. Harvesting of peanuts should be timely. Harvesting too early results in reduced yields and grades, while late harvesting results in excessive field losses. Consequently it is desirable to have harvesting equipment available when needed. The hull-scrape or shell-out methods are good procedures for estimating the best time to harvest for best yields and quality. Determination of the proper time to harvest, combined with proper harvesting and drying procedures are important in the production of high quality peanuts. Drying facilities should be available for use as soon as the peanuts are harvested. Close attention must be paid to the drying operation. Avoid excessive heat and overdrying.Summar y Peanut production is more intensive and costly than for most other agronomic crops. A thorough understanding of


Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Peanut Production Review Pa g e 3September 1997the production practices and equipment needed are essential as well as a knowledge of the market situation.