Sandier soils best
Sandier soils are best for peanuts. “When you dig peanuts, the soil will drop off easier. If you have a very silty soil, or clay, it tends to hang to the pods. That means the pods have to be run through cleaners, which can increase your harvest expenses.”
For growers in a corn rotation, “peanuts can work well. We don’t particularly care for it in a bean/corn rotation back-to-back. That’s because some of the same soil-borne soybean diseases will also attack peanuts.”
However, there’s “a good chance you could grow peanuts, wheat, double-crop soybeans and corn. Then, you could grow peanuts followed by corn. You just don’t want to get a rotation with soybeans and peanuts too close together due to potential disease issues.”
The peanut plots were planted the third week of May. The optimum planting time is the first week of May.
“We were just so far behind,” said Monfort. But the Mid-South heat wave “is pushing these peanuts hard. They should be ready around the first of October. These are usually 145-day varieties from planting to maturity.”
If everything falls into place, Monfort believes the Oklahoma peanut company can achieve its desired acreage in the area. “There are roughly 200 or 300 acres of peanuts around here, now. I think there’s a reasonable chance to have 3,500 to 4,000 acres next year.
“If they can get 5,000 to 7,000 acres planted in peanuts in this region, they’ll build a buying point facility. Then, when they need the peanuts, they’ll transport them on to the shelling facility in Madill.”
Peanuts can be a profitable venture for Arkansas farmers.
“It’s kind of like rice or cotton in terms of profit potential. But you have to manage this crop very closely. You can’t walk away from it. You can’t treat it like a secondary crop.”
Some farmers worry about rice or cotton first, then soybeans. Peanuts have to be watched and approached with the same precise management as rice and cotton.
“You have to stay right on top of them. When the crop is mature, it has to be harvested. If not, you’ll lose yield and disease — pod-rots — will come in.”
Is Arkansas a good environment to grow peanuts?
“The only issue we have here is we tend to get a lot of fall rain. If we can’t get the crop out quickly, it can hurt. But as far as the environment and soils available, we can grow peanuts very well.”