It’s mid-May in the Texas Plains with the promise of another dry, hot summer string farmers in the face.
And James Martin is optimistic about his peanut crop. He expects to make good yields on the 236 acres he planted this year. He usually does, averaging close to 5,200 pounds per acre.
Martin says rotation and irrigation timing are critical for profitable peanuts. And he’s efficient. Production costs run $400 per acre.
Steve Moore is living proof that hard times make better managers. “In past years, I didn’t pay as much attention to inputs; I’d spray on a 14-day fungicide schedule whether the peanuts needed it or not,” says Moore, who farms in Early County, Ga.
“You can’t cut a lot of corners in peanuts and still make a good yield, but you can watch input costs.”
Peanuts make up more than 30 percent of Moore’s total farm income and he maintains a yield goal of 3,500 to 4,000 pounds per acre.
“It’s fairly easy to grow a peanut crop, but I just haven’t found too many places where I can reduce costs. If it rains, we have to spray fungicides. And I wouldn’t even think about growing peanuts without irrigation.”
You don’t want to be an insect, disease or weed in Joe Cobb’s Windsor, N.C., peanut fields. He’s going to take you out. And he’s going to spend less doing it than most peanut growers in the Southeast.
“We’ve made a lot of changes for the better on this farm over the past 10 years,” Cobb says. “Everything I do ahs a value, every trip across the field, every chemical I use or don’t use.”
He keeps meticulous records so he knows what works and what doesn’t on his 360 acres of peanuts, 300 acres of full-season soybeans and 850 acres of cotton.