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Best Practices in Peanut Farming

Peanut Farming January 05, 2018

Best Practices in Peanut Farming

A.1 Water Sources
A.1.1 Water used for peanut cultivation shall be from the source that the surroundings are not at risk of contamination with hazardous substances. The water quality shall be suitable for agricultural production. The use of waste water from industry or other activities which will cause contamination of hazardous substances is prohibited. In case such water has to be used, there shall be clear evidence or proof that the water has already been treated and is safe for production.

A.1.2 At the initial stage of production, the water shall be analysed at least once by an official or officially accredited laboratory for contamination of the concerned hazardous substances.

A.1.3 Water for agricultural usage shall not be from a source causing any damage to the environment.

A.2 Planting area
A.2.1 Data shall be assigned to each plot indicating name of the farmers, address, name of the plot keeper (if any), address, map of plot location, layout of the plot, layout of types of crops and varieties and history of land use at least 3 years.

A.2.2 In case the planting area is within the proximity of an industrial or associated with risk, soil should be analysed for contamination of potential hazardous substances at least once by an official or officially accredited laboratory at the initial stage of production.

A.3 Pesticide Application
A.3.1 If pesticide is used, the application shall follow the recommendations of the Department of Agriculture or follow the directions on the officially registered labels authorized by the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Pesticide application shall correspond to the pest species found and be in accordance with official recommendation. The application shall be recorded as shown in Appendix B Record Form 3.

A.3.2 Pesticide application shall be abided by law with registration number and directions on label for peanut. The pesticides prohibited for production, import, export or having in possession in accordance with the Hazardous Substances Act B.E. 2535 (1992) and its amendments including those prohibited by trading–partner countries shall not be used. The pesticide application shall be withheld before harvest in accordance with the withdrawal period indicated on the label of each pesticide or as officially recommended.

A.3.3 Recommendation on the pesticide label shall be read to understand its property and application method prior to the application.

A.3.4 Farmers and workers responsible for pest management should have knowledge on the pests, and be able to select proper pesticides and their application rate, type of sprayer and nozzle for the specific pest and know how to spray pesticides. Sprayers should be kept in good condition and ready for use. Spraying operators shall wear protective clothing and personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, hats and boots to protect themselves from pesticides.

A.3.5 The proper dose of pesticide shall be prepared by adjusting the amount of added water and stirring until the mixture becomes homogeneous before spraying. The pesticide should be sprayed in the morning or in the evening when the wind is calm. Spraying during sunny or windy period should be avoided. Spraying workers shall be on the windward side while spraying at all time.

A.3.6 Prepare sufficient amount of pesticide mixture to be used up in each operation. The left-over mixture in the spraying tank shall be avoided.

A.3.7 After the pesticide container is empty, rinse the container 3 times with water and pour the water into a spraying tank. Spray the rinsed water on the field in which the pesticide is allowed as stated on the label, or in a specified area. Agricultural produces or water sources should not be at risk of being contaminated by this rinsed water. The empty containers of the pesticides shall be destroyed in order to prevent the reuse. They shall be discarded in the area allocated for their disposal or buried in the location that is at least 50 meters away from water sources and living quarter with the depth to prevent animal digging. It is prohibited to dispose of the empty containers by burning.

A.3.8 The spraying worker shall take a shower, shampoo hair, and change clothes immediately after finishing the operation. Clothes worn during the spray shall be cleaned after each operation.

A.3.9 Pesticide which is not used up in one operation shall be kept in the container with the lid tightly closed in the pesticide storage.

A.3.10 Pesticides shall be stored in well ventilated, closed and secured place to protect from sunlight and rain.

A.3.11 Separate the area used for pesticide storage from the others to prevent the contamination to food and environment.

A.3.12 Each pesticide shall be kept in tightly closed container with clear label and separated into groups. They shall be kept separated from fertilizers1/, plant growth regulators and other plant nutrient supplements. After use, the remaining pesticide shall be kept in its original container.

A.3.13 Storage area for pesticides should be fully equipped with tools and materials such as eyewash, clean water, sand and fire extinguishers for handling accidents.

A.3.14 Substances prohibited for production, import, export or having in possession in accordance with the Hazardous Substances Act B.E. 2535 (1992) and its amendment shall not be present in the proximity.

A.4 Quality Management in the Pre-harvest Production

A.4.1 Selection of planting area
A.4.1.1 Soil suitable for peanut growing should be a loam or sandy loam type without water- logging. It should have adequate essential nutrients i.e. more than 8 mg/kg of phosphorus, more than 50 mg/kg of potassium, more than 100 mg/kg of calcium, and more than 0.12 mg/kg of boron. Its pH should be 5.5 to 6.8. If the soil has nutrients and/or pH lower than required, it should be adjusted to maintain peanut good growth and resistance to infection by aflatoxin-producing fungi. Details of soil conditioning and fertilizer application shall be recorded.

A.4.1.2 Peanuts should not be grown in the area previously used for growing corns or peanuts to reduce the chance of fungal infection and subsequent aflatoxin contamination of peanuts.

Chemical fertilizers mean fertilizers obtained from inorganic or synthetic organic chemicals including single fertilizers, mixed fertilizers, compound fertilizers and organic chemical fertilizers, but excluding the followings:

(1) Lime, marl, plaster, gypsum, dolomite or other substances as promulgated by the Minister and published in the Royal Gazette.

(2) Inorganic or organic chemicals whether they naturally occur or are synthesized for industrial purposes or other activities as promulgated by the Minister and published in the Royal Gazette.

Organic fertilizers mean fertilizers obtained from organic materials that have been processed by moistening, chopping, decomposing, macerating, sieving and extracting or by other means. The organic materials have been undergone complete biological degradation process but are neither chemical nor biological fertilizers.

Organic chemical fertilizers mean fertilizers containing approved nutrient contents and a certain amount of organic matter as promulgated by the Minister and published in the Royal Gazette.

A.4.1.3 Peanuts should not be grown in the area known to be affected by the soil pests such as subterranean ants, white grubs, or plant parasitic nematodes in the previous season to reduce the chance of pods being wounded and predisposing to fungal infection. Various pest symptoms are shown in Appendix C Figures C.1 and C.2. In case it is necessary to grow peanuts in such area, the soil pests should be controlled as Sections A.4.3.4 and A.4.4.3.

A.4.1.4 Peanuts shall not be grown in the area contaminated with hazardous substances causing residues or contamination.

A.4.2 Land preparation for planting

A.4.2.1 Clear crop debris such as corn cobs or stubbles that may be a source of aflatoxin- producing fungi accumulation from the planting area.

A.4.2.2 Land shall be roughly ploughed and cross-ploughed at least once to eliminate soil- borne pathogens and pests. For peanuts grown in irrigated paddy fields, it may be necessary to make furrows after tilling to facilitate irrigation and drainage.

A.4.2.3 In case pH of the soil is less than 5.5 or higher than 6.8, the soil should be adjusted and recorded.

A.4.3 Planting

A.4.3.1 To obtain vigorous seedlings and uniform crop stands, seed shall be of more than 70 % germination without abnormality such as damaged testa or seed by pest.

A.4.3.2 In case seeds are treated with fungicides to control seed-borne fungi and prevent seedlings from sclerotium stem rot and seedling blight diseases, official recommendations shall be followed and the application shall be recorded.

A.4.3.3 To obtain optimum population per unit area suitable for normal growth, peanuts shall have proper spacing according to the variety, growing season and location as officially recommended.

A.4.3.4 Insect and animal pest control according to Appendix D shall be conducted and recorded.

A.4.3.5 In case pre-emergence herbicides are applied, the official recommendations should be followed and recorded.

A.4.4 Crop management
A.4.4.1 In case of no pre–emergence herbicides and the planting area becoming weedy, weeding should be done at least once when peanuts are about 3 to 4 weeks old or before pegging. A post-emergence herbicide could be used by following the official recommendations with care so as not to injure the plants from the herbicides or the weeding tools and keep the weeding record.

A.4.4.2 In case the soil has nutrient content below the levels indicated in Section A.4.1.1, fertilizers shall be applied one more time.

A.4.4.3 In the area known to be affected by soil insect and animal pest, a pest control as recommended in Appendix D should be repeated after flowering. Details of the pest control shall be recorded in Record Form 3 Appendix B.

A.4.4.4 Make a regular pest survey. If found, the pests shall be controlled following recommendations in Appendix D and recorded in the Record Form 3 Appendix B.

A.4.4.5 Precaution shall be taken to avoid drought stress during flowering, pegging and pod developing stages. Lack of water during these critical stages will weaken the plants and cause Aspergillus infection.

A.4.5 Production input management
A.4.5.1 Production inputs, sources of origin and specific details of important inputs such as peanut variety, fertilizers and pesticides used shall be listed. Such production inputs, amount and purchasing dates shall be recorded in the Record Form 2 Appendix B.

A.4.5.2 Production inputs should be well managed to avoid contamination to the produce with microbes, chemicals and foreign matters to the level that make it unfit for consumption.

A.4.6 Agricultural tools and equipment management
A.4.6.1 Agricultural tools and equipment shall be listed and kept properly.

A.4.6.2 Appropriate types of equipment in sufficient number for the operation shall be provided.

A.4.6.3 A separate storage area for tools and equipment shall be provided, secured, and easily accessed when needed.

A.4.6.4 A maintenance plan for tools and equipment shall be set up, implemented and recorded.

A.4.6.5 Tools and equipment such as pesticide sprayers or harvesting equipment shall be checked before use. Tools and equipment that need precision in application such as pesticide spraying nozzles shall be regularly checked for the precision. In case there is any deviation, they shall be repaired or changed to retain their efficiency according to the standard. Proper tools and equipment shall be used accordingly.

A.4.6.6 Tools and equipment, as well as packaging and transporting containers shall be cleaned every time before and after use prior to storage.

A.4.7 Disposal of Waste and By-Products
A.4.7.1 Infected plant parts shall be removed and destroyed outside the plot.

A.4.7.2 Other non-infected plant debris could be used as green manure or processed into compost.

A.4.7.3 Types of rubbish such as cardboard cartons, plastic, glass, oils, chemicals and plant debris shall be clearly separated. Sufficient number of trash cans should be provided or disposal area should be clearly designated.

A.5 Harvest and Post-harvest Handlings
A.5.1 Peanuts shall be harvested at optimum maturity by judging from the age which may be different according to the varieties and the growing seasons. Harvesting period can also be judged by randomly uprooting the plants and count the number of mature pods of at least 60% of the total mature pods or 6 mature pods out of 10. Pod maturity can be collated as shown in Figure C.3 Appendix C.

A.5.2 During the harvest, caution shall be taken to avoid pod wounding. If wounded, they shall be sorted out.

A.5.3 Post-harvest handling

Drying is the most critical step affecting peanut pod quality. Drying can be achieved by 2 methods i.e. windrow drying and stripped pod drying.

A.5.3.1 Windrow drying

Kernels from windrow dried pod will have better aroma and flavour than those dried after being stripped off the plants. Windrow drying should be done as follows:

(1) Windrow the pulled peanut plants for 1-2 days before stripping the pods until the kernel moisture content is reduced to 30%. This may be done by bundling the bush and turning upside down so as to let the pods expose to sunlight and better aeration as shown in the Figure C.4(A) Appendix C or

(2) Dry the bush in thin layers on a ground covering sheet to prevent the pods from direct contact to the ground as shown in Figure C.4(B) Appendix C or

(3) After pulling the bush, cut it off keeping only the parts that bear pods and have them dried as recommended in (2) or hang them on wooden rails or wires to facilitate ventilation.

A.5.3.2 Pod stripping

In case pods are stripped by hands, damaged by soil pests as shown in Figure C.1 and Figure C.2 Appendix C as well as the pods that are rotten, germinated, broken, immature, and physically damaged by harvesting tools shall not be stripped. In case stripping is done by machine, caution should be taken so as not to damage the pods. There shall be a sorting process to eliminate pods that are defected, broken, and physically damaged by harvesting tools as well as foreign materials that may be harmful to the consumers.

A.5.3.3 Stripped pod drying
Stripped peanut pods can be dried by sun-drying or using dryer. A.5.3.3.1 Sun-drying

(1) Fresh in-pod peanuts shall be spread on a ground covering material such as a tarpaulin sheet, fine nylon mesh, or bamboo bed to reduce their chance of direct contact to the ground as shown in the Figure C.5 Appendix C.

(2) Peanut pods shall not be wetted by rain during the drying. In case of raining, the pods shall be either quickly moved away into a shelter or covered with a water-proof material.

(3) Peanut pods windrowed before stripping shall be continuously dried until the kernel moisture content is reduced to less than 12% within 2 days and less than 9% within 5 days.

For the pods that have been immediately stripped after pulling, dry them until kernel moisture content is reduced to less than 12% within 4 days and less than 9% within 7 days.

To determine moisture content, a tester or pod and kernel checking of the dried appearance shall be used. Pods that have dried kernels to the required moisture content when being shaken will cause shaking sound between the kernels and the shell and when being pressed the seed testa is easily peeled off.

A.5.3.3.2 Drying by dryer

Stripped pods are dried in a drying bin by blowing hot air through the heap for 2 to 3 days until the kernel moisture content is less than 9%. The hot air temperature should be around 400C. After drying, the moisture content is checked as indicated in Section A.5.3.3.1 (3).

A.6 Storage and Transport of Dry in-pod Peanuts

A.6.1 Packing and storage area
A.6.1.1 Store dry in-pod peanuts in well-ventilated container such as gunny bags.

A.6.1.2 Clean containers or the containers fumigated with officially approved pesticides shall be used. Do not use the containers that have been used for hazardous substances.

A.6.1.3 A storage for dry in-pod peanuts shall be well ventilated, rain-proof, free from disease carrier animals and separated from the hazardous substance storage.

A.6.1.4 A storage with concrete or earth floor shall have materials such as wooden or concrete poles supporting the lowest bags to prevent them from direct contact to the ground. Since dry in-pod peanuts can reabsorb moisture from the floor and become moldy.

A.6.1.5 Spacing between rows of containers is required to facilitate ventilation when storing large quantity of dry in-pod peanuts. Do not stack the containers too close to the walls or pile them up too many layers.

A.6.2 Transport

A.6.2.1 Clean and hazardous substance free equipment or containers shall be used for collecting and moving harvested peanut plants, fresh in-pod peanuts, and dry in-pod peanuts.

A.6.2.2 Vehicles used for transporting dry in-pod peanuts shall be dampness-proof to prevent them from absorbing moisture and becoming moldy.

A.7 Record Keeping and Traceability

A.7.1 Updated documents or record forms for the current production season shall be recorded and made available as shown in the Example of Record Forms 1 to 4 and signed by the farmer each time the data is recorded.

A.7.2 In case of having more than 1 plot, the data of each plot shall be recorded individually.

A.7.3 Documents and/or record forms shall be kept orderly regarding production seasons so as to facilitate inspection and use.

A.7.4 For traceability, important records or documents relating to the crop production practices shall be kept at least 2 years or as required by the entrepreneurs or trading-partner countries.

Source: www.acfs.go.th/standard/download/eng/GAP_PEANUT.pdf

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