Peanut harvesting is underway, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts expect average yields and low prices for producers.
Dr. Calvin Trostle, AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock, said digging on early planted peanuts and mature varieties have specialists and producers expecting an average year for the crop.
Trostle said peanut producers in Terry, Yoakum and Gaines counties, where more than 80 percent of West Texas’ peanut acres are normally planted, were concerned about their fields in mid-summer. Conditions were hot and dry from June through July, and irrigation was having trouble keeping up with plants’ daily water requirements.
On a windy 93-degree day with low humidity, peanuts could easily use 0.4 of an inch of water each day, which pushes weekly water requirements to around 3 inches, Trostle said.
“Peanuts have a higher water requirement than most crops in the area,” he said. “There was some significant concern among producers until the rains arrived in August and September.”
Trostle heard of no insect issues in peanut fields this year. But diseases, such as pod rot and leaf spot, may have affected some growers.
“I think the heat stress was the main concern but there was some talk about diseases,” he said. “But most producers make fungicide applications as part of their management to ensure pod rot is held in check. But some years, certain conditions can mean more applications or use of more expensive applications to address those problems.”
Producers began harvesting Valencia and Spanish peanuts two weeks ago and fields with runner and Virginia peanuts will likely be dug through the next few weeks, Trostle said. Conditions and forecasts for final maturation of those fields and harvest time appear to be good with no signs of frost.
Trostle said expectations are for an average year for nearly 100,000 irrigated acres of peanuts planted this year in West Texas.
“That means some fields will do very well, in the 5,000 pounds per acre to upwards of 6,000 pounds, but some irrigated fields that might have received less rain or had less irrigation capacity might be in the 2,500-3,000-pound range,” Trostle said.
AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here.
Source: Texas AgriLife Extension
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