Oklahoma peanut farmers are spreading risks a bit by growing three peanut market types — runners, Virginias and Spanish, and are also taking advantage of higher grain prices in rotation options.
Steve Clay, Carnegie; Darcy Reimer, Ringwood; and Joe D. White, Frederick, discussed 2008 peanut production plans during a grower panel presentation at the recent Oklahoma Peanut Expo in Lone Wolf.
“Peanuts are the most profitable crop we grow,” Clay said. “We're growing peanuts two years and then lay out at least four years. We rotate with corn and it's good finally to have a rotation crop that makes a profit. For years we grew corn just to get rotation advantages for peanuts. We also use corn to spread out labor and equipment demand.”
Clay uses a strip till production system. “We don't doublecrop.”
He said corn will take a few more acres in 2008. “We'll plant a little less cotton and keep peanuts about the same.”
Reimer is a relative newcomer to peanuts and farms in the northernmost peanut production area in the state.
“I've been growing peanuts for three years,” he said. “I've grown irrigated corn and soybeans and some cotton.” He grows the same three market types as Clay. “I have just a few runners and plant mostly Virginias.”
He uses a strip till or “ro-till” system. “I'll increase peanut acreage this year,” he said.
White has grown peanuts for 20 years and still uses a moldboard plow to break the land.
“I changed to peanuts from cotton because of the boll weevil,” White said. “Peanuts saved our operation.”
He's planting corn, cotton and peanuts now. He grows runner and Virginia peanuts, “mostly Virginias,” he said.
Last year was one of White's “better years.”
Clay said yield was off a little in 2007 with yields “a little more than two tons per acre. We had too much rain.”
Reimer said production averages last year hit 4,000 pounds per acre for Spanish and 5,000 for Virginias.”
All three say they need more than $500 a ton for their crop. They irrigate all of their peanuts with center pivot systems.
And one of their toughest pest management problems is feral hog control. “It will be a big problem,” Reimer said.