Note for Peanut Grower Magazine
This is the time of year when growers get a bit nervous about contracts and how peanut prices will stack up against the value of other crops. Taking a close look at realistic yield potential, cost of production and expected return on investment will enable folks to make a good decision on growing peanuts or selecting a different crop that offers the same or more income with less risk. A big question is how well do the other crops stack up to peanut under dryland conditions. Peanuts have risks and are expensive to grow but they are resilient. I am almost always pleasantly surprised at the end of the season at how much peanuts yield compared with my in-season expectations. I’m not sure if that means I’m generally pessimistic about things and deep down like a positive surprise or that peanuts are just that good at handling a wide range of stresses throughout the year and bounce back from them very well. I suspect there is truth in both of these statements. However, we do know that peanuts can’t do it by themselves.
In recent years we have experienced high yields under great conditions (2012) and marginal conditions (2013). Our yields these days reflect longer rotations, improved varieties, availability of crop protection materials and effective strategies to manage virtually all pests, production on good peanut soils that minimize digging losses and most of all good managers that can put it all together. These factors combined with the natural resiliency of peanuts in the field will keep them in game as a viable option for growers.
Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2014-012)