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Peanut Farming

Peanut Farming January 12, 2018

Peanut Farming

Peanut Farming:

Peanut also knows as Peanut is one of the top oil-seed crops grown in Asian countries. Peanut is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both small and large commercial growers. Peanut is an annual herbaceous plant that may reach up to 50 cm height. Peanut belongs to the family of “Fabaceae” and genus of “Arachis”. India is the second largest producer of Peanuts next to China in Asia. Peanuts are used in culinary preparation by roasting, making peanut flour and extracting peanut oil. Peanuts are rich in essential nutrients. In a 100 grams serving of peanuts provide 550 calories and are an excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E, several dietary minerals, such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, and dietary fiber. Peanut seed contains about 40 to 45 % of oil and 25 % of protein. Peanut kernel is very easy digestible and the oil cake obtained afterthe extraction of the oil from Peanut is a valuable organic manure and animal feed. It contains 6 % ‘N’, 1 %phosphorus and 1% potash. Peanut is a good rotation crop which builds up the soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen through the root nodules. Peanut Farming is also an excellent cover crop especially for lands exposed to soil erosion. Commercial Farming of Peanut is pretty much successful and one can easily make decent profits provided certain field management procedures are practiced.

Climatic requirements

Climatic conditions such as temperature and rainfall significantly influence the Peanut production. Warm and moist conditions are very favorable than cool and wet climate, which results in slow germination and seedling emergence, increasing the risk of seed rot and seedling diseases. Temperature is a major environmental factor that determines the rate of crop development. Temperatures above 35°C inhibit the growth of Peanut. Optimum mean daily temperature to grow is 30°C and growth ceases at 15°C. For rapid emergence, soil temperature above 21°C is needed. The optimum temperature for the most rapid germination and seedling development is about 30°C.

A minimum 100 - day optimum temperature growing season is necessary for successful Peanut crop production. Adequate and well distributed rainfall during the growing season, especially during flowering, pegging and pod formation stages, is essential for maximum yield and quality of Peanut. Peanut is grown in areas receiving 600 to 1500 mm of rainfall. However, the crop can be grown successfully with a rainfall of 1250 mm. 

The amount of rainfall required:

 Pre-sowing operations (preparatory cultivation) 100 mm

 Sowing 150 mm

 Flowering and pod development 400-500 mm

The Peanut crop cannot stand

 Frost for long

 Severe drought

 Water stagnation

Temperature

Peanut require a high temperature and a frost-free period of about 160 days. They will not reach optimum maturity for a marketable yield to justify commercial production in areas with fewer heat units during the growing season. They are very sensitive to low temperatures and seeds should only be planted when the minimum temperature stabilises above 18 °C. Germination is 95% at soil temperatures ranging from 18 °C to 30 °C. The suitable vegetative growth temperature ranges from 20 °C to 35 °C. However, at 33 °C this declines to 84%. A favourable temperature for flowering and pod formation is about 28 °C. Higher altitudes with cooler climates are not suitable for Peanut production. Avoid planting in dry soil and irrigating during cold spells or planting in cold, wet soil.

Water

Moisture is another critical factor for successful Peanut production. Planting must be done on moist warm soils to speed-up the germination process. Research has shown poor germination in drier soils. Available soil moisture content is also commensurate with row width. Wider rows are advisable in low-rainfall areas while the opposite is true in higher-rainfall areas. Rainfall in the region of 500 to 700 mm per annum will be satisfactory for good yields of Peanuts.

Sunlight

Peanuts do best in full sun (unobstructed sunlight for most of the day), but can tolerate partial shade (some shade for up to half the day) as well. When planted in the shade, peanut leaves will become larger and will produce fewer reproductive organs, but yield will not suffer unless planted in a very shaded area.

Soil requirements

Peanuts grow best in well-drained, red-coloured, yellow-red and red, fertile, sandy to sandy loam soils with a pH range of 5, 5 to 7, 0. Saline soils are not suitable because Peanuts have a very low salt tolerance.

The Peanut plant produces runners (horizontal stems) which in turn produce flowers at each node. These flowers self-pollinate and produce an anchor or peg which penetrates the ground. The Peanut pod is produced underground at the tip of the pegs. The topsoil must thus have a low clay content (less than 20%) with a loose structure so that the peg may penetrate the soil freely. Soils with a high clay percentage in the topsoil may cause the Peanut pegs to break at harvest. Soil compaction can also be a problem if the fine sand fraction of the topsoil is high. This situation can be aggravated in soils where the organic residues are low.

The seedbed should be deep, without compaction layers, to accommodate the Peanut plants root system. Shallow soils must be avoided due to the low water retention capacity, as well as the possibility of water logging.

Soils with a high potential for the production of Peanuts are thus typically deep (900- 1200 mm), structureless yellow, yellow-red or red soils with a sandy loam to sandy texture in the topsoil, without physical limitations, such as compaction. Suitable soil forms are Avalon, Bainsvlei, Clovelly, Hutton, Pinedene and Glencoe.

Suitable Soil for Peanut Farming :

Peanut is perfectly grown in a well-drained sandy loam, or sandy clay loam s oil. Deep well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5-7.0 and high fertility are ideal for Peanut. An optimum soil temperature for good germination of Peanut is 30°C. Low temperature at sowing delays germination and increases seed and seedling diseases. Soil test must be done before starting Peanut farming.

Crop rotation in Peanut Farming: A crop rotation is very important in Peanut farming, this helps in efficient nutrient utilization and reduces soil borne diseases and nematodes. It also helps to reduce the incidence of weeds. Maize, sorghum, pearl millet or small grain crops can be grown following Peanut. To reduce the incidence of soil borne diseases it is recommended not to grow Peanut after Peanut, or tobacco, or cotton.

Application of Manures and Fertilizers in Peanut Farming:

In Peanut farming, a balanced fertilizer application, based on soil tests, should provide adequate levels of especially phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulphur, and magnesium. Nutrient availability depends on soil pH, organic matter content, and rate of release of nutrients from the soil minerals. The availability of other essential ions such as copper, boron, iron, manganese, and nitrogen may be low in alkaline soils (pH >8.5); while an acid soil (pH <6) may be deficient in molybdenum, manganese, sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. Therefore, depending on soil nutrient status and targeted yields.

Manure Application in Ground Farming:

In Peanut farming, application of 1 0 – 1 2 t ha-1 of chicken manure or 20 t ha-1 of well decomposed farm yard-manure should be used and completed at least 1 month before sowing. This should be mixed into the soil for good plant development and to improve the soil structure.

Fertilizers Application in Peanut Farming: 

The main Fertilizer components in Peanut Farming are  Nitrogen,Phosphorus, Potassium ,Calcium , Sulphur , Iron ,Zinc. Deficiencies of boron , copper, molybdenum, manganese and magnesium  can be corrected by soil application of these nutrients when symptoms appear, depending on soil type and agroclimatic conditions.

Sowing Preparation in Peanut Farming :

Plot design:When  testing for yield a n d quantitative characters, treatments are to be randomized and arranged in the plots in blocks. The plot size is four rows of 4m length, with 30 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants.

Seed and Layout Preparation in Peanut farming :

1. Initial steps: The experimental field maps indicating the randomization of treatments, blocks, direction of rows, number of rows, row width, row length, and alley width are prepared. Next, the seed and fertilizer packets for each  row are prepared. 

2. Selection of seed: Bold and well-filled pods are s elected for shelling about one week before sowing. The viability of the kernels may deteriorate after being shelled and stored for a long time a n d are more subject to storage pest damage. The plants produced from bold kernels were found to be superior to those from correspondingly smaller kernels in their rate of emergence, number of successful seedlings, number of primary branches and leaves, and dry mass of roots, shoots, total dry matter, and pod yield.

3. Seed treatment:To control pathogens causing seed and seedling diseases, it is necessary to coat the seed before sowing with either Thiram® (a.i. 5 0 % @ 3 g kg -1 seed) or Bavistin® (a.i. 5 0 % @ 2 g kg’ 1 seed). Seed may be inoculated at the time of sowing by field inoculation to ensure good nodulation where a soil has been found to contain few rhizobia.

4. Seed rate and spacing. The seed rate depends on the variety (Spanish, Valencia, o r Virginia), runner or bunch type, the seed mass, and germination rate of the seed-lot . The recommended population for bunch varieties is 330 000 plants ha -1 (about one plant per 30 x 10 cm).  In case of semi spreading and spreading varieties the recommended population is 250 000 plants ha -1 (one plant per 40 x 10 cm). 

5. Seed  packets: When sowing by hand is done the calculated a m o u n t of seed for each row is separately packeted and the packets for each plot are temporarily fastened together. In case of machine sowing, seed packets are arranged by groups of rows for continuous sowing.

Sowing in Peanut Farming :

1. Peanut sowing during the rainy season start with the onset of the rains, usually by the 3rd week of June.

2. Examine the soil before sowing for an optimum moisture content after rainfall or give a presowing irrigation to make sure good germination .

3. At the time of sowing, place the seed at 5-6 cm depth in the soil. Compact the soil around the seed to ensure there is firm contact with soil moisture for rapid and uniform germination. Use of a seed drill with packing wheels is useful to ensure uniform germination.

4. When sowing manually, make sure that plots in each block is completed by the same person to reduce within-block variation due to uneven sowing caused by human differences.

Irrigation in Peanut Farming : 

 Peanut farming sprinkler irrigation.

 Peanut yields will be reduced if the upper soil zone becomes dry from f lowering through pod development. A water deficit may lead to the following consequences.

 Reduction in the dry matter production of vegetative components as well as the crop growth rate. Fewer and smaller leaves with small compact cells and shorter stems. Water deficit from sowing to 67 days delays the period of rapid fruit growth by 10 days and decreases yield.

 Water deficit during the flowering and pegging stages results in higher yield losses than stress at any other growth stage; This deficit reduces the number of f lowers plant-1.

 Water deficit in the soil surface during peg formation and pod development reduces pod number and pod yield.

 Water deficit in the fruiting zone results in unfilled pods , and less calcium concentration in the hull and seed .

 Water deficit reduces Peanut quality, shelling percentage or percentage of sound mature seeds, seed mass, and germination of seed.

 The aim  of irrigation is to prevent soil water deficit and to supply the crop’s upper rooting zone with sufficient moisture without water logging the root zone.

 Adequate available water in the upper 60 cm layer of soil is important for high yield and good quality Peanut seeds. Most s oils when at field capacity will hold about 3.1 cm of water at 30 cm of depth. The highest Peanut yields are observed when available soil moisture is kept above 50 % of field capacity. Therefore, sprinkler irrigation is recommended when the moisture has been depleted to 50 % of field capacity in the top 60 c m . During peak water-use periods (0.6-0.7 cm day-1) the field m a y require 3.0-3.5 cm of water every 5 days. Irrigation intervals can be prolonged for 7-10 days during periods of low daily water requirements. 

 An optimum water management scheme is to schedule sprinkler irrigation to maintain a less than 50 % SWD (soil water depletion) level in the top 30 cm of soil during early growth stages. Imposing a moderate water deficit during pre-f lowering phase followed by irrigation can increase pod yields by 18 – 20 %. However, irrigation should be made at 2 5 % SWD during the pod-formation and seed-development st ages. If the soil water potential is measured , irrigation should be maintained the soil water potential above -0.6 bars.When long, dry, hot, periods occur at the sensitive growth stages, such as pegging, pod format ion, and early pod filling, sprinkler irrigation are necessary to maintain the soil water potential above -0.25 to -0.50 bars . This means that the upper 30 cm of soil should appear and feel moist and the plants should not wilt from lack of moisture during the afternoon.

Weed Control in Peanut Farming :

Weeds cause much damage to the Peanut crop during the first 45 days of its growth. The most critical period of weed competition is from 3-6 weeks after sowing. The average yield loss due to weeds is about 30 % ,whereas under poor management yield loss by weeds may be 60 %. Therefore, it is advantageous to mechanically and chemically control weeds during the initial 6 weeks of Peanut growth.

Harvesting in Peanut Farming :  

Premature harvesting of Peanut pods lowers the yield, oil percent age, and quality of seeds. Delay in harvesting after physiological maturity can result in increased Aspergillus flavus infection, and aflatoxin contamination in pods/seeds, and many pods may be left in the soil due to weakening of pegs. The Spanish bunch varieties (nondormant types) start germinating if harvesting is delayed. Therefore, it is important to harvest at optimum maturity.

There are three ways of harvesting in Peanut Farming :

1. Apply sprinkler irrigation for an hour and manually pull the plants.

2. Provide a light surface irrigation 2 – 3 days before harvest a n d use a blade harrow that cuts the plant roots 1 2 – 1 5 cm below the soil surface. Then manually pull the plants.

3. When irrigation water is scarce, use a plow or tractor-driven digger to loosen the soil. Then manually remove the plants.

Note: Harvested plants should be stacked in the field for a few days for air and sun drying (on bright sunny days) before stripping the pods. Thereafter, pods are continuously dried to reach a moisture content of 6 – 6 % to avoid the development of aflatoxin caused by yellow mold (Aspergillus flavus). On cloudy days, pods should be removed and immediately placed in an air drier at 27-38°C for 2 days or until the pods dry to a constant mass ( 6 – 8 % moisture).

Storage of Peanut:

After cleaning and grading, store the dry pods in gunny bags and stack them up to 10 bags high in separated stacks so that air freely circulates among them . The bags should be piled on wooden planks to avoid damage from dampness. Dusting the bags with 5% Lindane® will protect the pods from many storage pests.

Marketing of Peanut:

Marketing is easy where you can sell to local Peanut mills or Agents or Government markets.

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