“When do I dig?” remains a big question for growers, he says. “We have the hull-scrape method to help determine when we dig. And a lot of times, we start digging whenever our neighbors start. But the hull-scrape method is a very accurate tool, and sometimes we determine when to dig by looking at the calendar. You look at the day you planted and count the days until maturity.”

The truth is, neither of these methods by itself is a good idea. “But we can put them together to formulate an educated guess on the right time to dig peanuts.”

Since peanuts are underground, growers can’t just ride by a field, take a quick look, and tell if they’re ready to dig. “And you can’t put them back once you dig them, so you have to be spot on.”

With the hull-scrape method, growers can place the pods on a profile board according to color class. Whenever there are accumulations in the black regions, you can predict a pretty accurate digging date, says Faircloth. A uniform curve on the board indicates that the pods all were set at one time over the course of a season.