The profile board is a very good predictor of maturity, he says, but it has its faults. Sampling errors, he adds, can be a problem. “Often, you overestimate maturity because you’re getting the biggest, most mature peanuts, and you’re not accounting for all of the peanuts in the field.”

Time also can be an issue. “I do about 500 of these boards every fall as part of my research, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to do this right. You have to get the pod, look at it, and sometimes feel. At times, you have to go by the touch and consistency – whether it’s soft and watery or hard and firm. Also, the pod blasting must be available to you.”

Research is not focused on doing away with the profile board, he says, but rather to find some methods that make it easier to do or that might eventually take its place and be accurate and reliable.

“Some peanuts just don’t fit the board. AP-3 never turned black. The profile board was developed over 30 years ago, and it’s still very relevant, but we need to come up with some updates.”

Researchers are working on a growing degree day method for determining maturity, says Faircloth. This is a method commonly used in cotton and known as DD60s. It’s the amount of heat units received by a plant.