Organizers of the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award have reviewed production data from previous winners to arrive at a “Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability.” This list of successful production practices is being presented in descending order with sponsorship provided by DuPont Crop Protection. The Peanut Profitability Awards, based on production efficiency in whole-farm situations, is entering its 13th year and is administered by Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory, and his staff.

Coming in at No. 6 and No. 5, respectively, in the “Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability” are cost management and efficient water use.

No. 6: Cost management

Cost management is a broad term that could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but in peanut production, it focuses on two specific areas.

“In peanut production, we’re dealing with two aspects of cost management – variable costs and fixed costs,” says Marshall Lamb, research director with the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., and advisor for the Peanut Profitability Awards.

“With variable costs, we’re talking about things such as seed, chemicals, irrigation and others. There’s not always a lot of room to make reductions in these areas because a good farmer will follow whatever recommendations are necessary to make a crop.

“In a year when there’s a pest outbreak, they have to use more chemicals, and whenever there’s a drought, they have to irrigate more.”

Farmers have seen inflationary pressure on all costs during the history of Peanut Profitability, says Lamb, resulting in a steady increase in cost of production. These costs have especially been driven by fuel costs.

As for fixed costs, however, farmers have more control.