Peanut growers from all over joined in a discussion with peanut producer Howard Thielemier and brothers Kyle and Jeremy Baltz of Baltz Feed Company to learn about the expanding peanut infrastructure and growing operations in northeast Arkansas and Mississippi.

Held during the 61st Mid-South Farm and Gin show, the seminar offered the group an opportunity to share their experiences during the 2012 season. The seminar was hosted by the AGHQ Peanuts, Running Lake Farms and The Clint Williams Company.

Peanut production has increased dramatically in some areas of the South with production nearly tripling in Mississippi alone during 2012. Other states like Oklahoma have lost acreage.

“We hope to share our view only on peanuts. We’re new to the industry and don’t pretend to know everything, but we do want to share what we’ve learned,” says Jeremy Baltz. The Baltz brothers farm in Pocahontas, Ark., and contract all their peanuts with Clint Williams.

“We’ve been growing peanuts since 2010. We planted 600 acres in 2010, 2,500 in 2011 and 20,000 in 2012. This is a big growth area in Arkansas,” says Jeremy Baltz.

Baltz says the 2012 crop had 20 percent more acreage and more yield. To keep pace with the increased acreage, major construction occurred in 2012 with the opening of four buying points. Clint Williams opened a station in Cleveland, Miss., and Clarksdale, Miss.; AGHQ in Pocahontas, Ark.; and Birdsong in Lawrence County, Ark.

Producer Howard Thielemier of Running Lake Farms began growing peanuts two years ago and provided a detailed look at his production practices, starting with planting practices. “Peanuts thrive in deep-tilled soil with 8 to 10 inches as the tillage goal,” says Thielemier. Tillage was a challenge in 2012 due to dry ground at planting time. He recommends building beds to 30 inches or growing on two rows of 60 inches. “When digging peanuts, you want to be able to invert them on a ridge, not in a furrow,” he says.

For new producers, Thielemier stresses patience. “The planter only runs about 2 to 2.5 miles per hour. Peanuts are delicate and can be easily damaged.” Seeding rates run 100 to 130 pounds per acre. Thielemier planted Georgia 09B on April 26, along with Georgia 06 and Florida 07.

“We find the Georgia 09B matures earlier, while the Florida 07 is a tougher variety with a longer maturation period,” says Thielemier.

Eighteen herbicides were used during the season including a pre‐emerge on May 1 (Gramoxone, Valor), a post-emerge approximately 10 days later (Select, AMS and Crop Oil) and a post‐emerge on June 2 of 2‐4DB, Cadre and Crop Oil.

Peanuts need little water until the reproductive stage, and then water should be applied within 12 hours or less of flowering, according to Thielemier. Irrigation should be cycled about every two weeks. “I like pivot irrigation which is more consistent and did well but very little of my operation is pivot,” says Thielemier.

 

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Harvest is equally a slow process and began in mid-September. “It took two months to harvest. We allowed for five to seven days between digging and harvest,” says Thielemier. He says to expect to harvest 15 to 20 acres per day, per combine. “There are always issues of when to dig without getting a lot of soil on the roots and peanuts.”

Thielemier finds peanuts work well rotating with corn, and he will cut back further on rice acres to grow peanuts. When looking at successes, he breaks the picture down. “Looking at yields, we exceeded our goal of 2 tons by at least by another half a ton on all fields. However, if you measure success in terms of time, we fell significantly short.”

Gross revenue per acre ranged from $1,500 to $1,800 with net profits about half that number.

During the seminar, growers had the opportunity to visit with representatives from the Clint Williams Company.

 

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