But those good yields will come from significantly fewer acres. Woodward, in the latest Peanut Progress Report newsletter, says final acreage may still be a question mark but will be much lower than last year’s 145,000 acres.

The latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report pegs Texas acreage at only 77,000, down from 80,000 estimated in June. Oklahoma and New Mexico acreage estimates are 17,000 and 6,000 respectively.

Woodward is not convinced Texas acreage is that low. “While there is no doubt acres are down from the 145,000 harvested in 2012, these estimates appear rather low,” he says. “In fact, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) certified acres report, which was released Aug. 15, indicated that approximately 111,000 acres of peanuts were planted this season. Certified acres for Oklahoma and New Mexico were consistent with NASS estimates.”

Texas peanut acreage isconcentrated in the High Plains. Cochran, Yoakum and Terry County farmers plant an average of 14,700 acres each and Gaines County producers typically plant more than 25,500 acres. In South Texas, Atascosa and Frio counties account for 15,757 acres; in the Northern Rolling Plains, Collingsworth, Donley and Wilbarger counties plant 12,085 acres.

Woodward says, even with recent, timely rain, growers should not be in a rush to turn off irrigation systems. The same practice that works in cotton is not recommended for peanuts. He says cotton farmers may begin shutting off irrigation to mature the crop.

“That tactic is not advised in peanuts at this time. Research results from both Texas and Georgia indicate that stressing runner peanuts now may be detrimental to yields, as water is still needed to fill developing pods. This is also true of Virginia-types. When considering Valencia and Spanish peanut types, it may be necessary to determine if pods are fully developed, as these market types can mature considerably earlier than runner and Virginia (peanut) types.”

He says if the crop is maturing at a steady rate, and has adequate moisture in the soil profile, growers may reduce irrigation output. “However, these decisions will be on a field-by-field basis and may require close observations to minimize stressful conditions.

For more information about current conditions of the Texas peanut crop check here.


Also of interest:

Timeliness, cost management critical for Peanut Profitability winners

International team seeking to unravel peanut genome (Part 2)

International team seeking to unravel peanut genome (Part 1)