Oklahoma peanut producers expect a better than average crop from significantly more acres than they planted in 2009.

“The crop looks very good,” said Chad Godsey, Oklahoma State University Extension peanut specialist, during a recent peanut field day at Fort Cobb, Oklahoma.

Godsey said the crop is 10 days to two weeks earlier than usual. “The September heat helped the crop mature and we’ve had a uniform pod set,” he said. “We expect good yields and high grades.”

Oklahoma Peanut Commission executive secretary  Mike Kubicek said the 20,000 planted acres represents a 52 percent increase over last year’s 13,000-acre peanut crop. “It’s still early,” he said, “but the crop looks good. We’re hoping for good fall weather. So far, I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Kubicek said a big part of the acreage increase went to Spanish-type peanuts.

“That’s seems to be our niche,” Godsey said.  “We’ve had a significant increase in Spanish peanut acreage the last two or three years.” He said the Spanish peanut matures earlier than runner-types, an important consideration for central Oklahoma where cold snaps can come early and damage the longer-maturing runner peanuts.

Godsey said Caddo County accounted for a good portion of the increased acreage this year. “Caddo County planted acreage is almost double last year,” he said.

He also expects Oklahoma peanut acreage to continue to increase, especially if growers have favorable contract offerings next spring.

Mike Sawyer, general manager, Farmers Cooperative of Carnegie, Oklahoma, said peanut acreage is “not where we would like it,” but is moving in the right direction. He agrees with Godsey and Kubicek that crop prospects are promising. “It benefitted from a warm September,” he said. “We’re about a week away from digging peanuts and it will go pretty fast.”

Farmers attending the field day supported the prediction of a good crop. Joe D. White, who farms near Fredericksburg, said his crop looks good, but he and other farmers are hoping they have a better harvest season than they did in 2009 when a rainy October delayed harvest.

rsmith@farmpress.com