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Agriculture Today


Texas peanut crop yield —about average or above




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Robert Burns
December 26, 2013 | 3,364 views | Post a comment

COLLEGE STATION -- With about 120,000 to 125,000 acres harvested, and about average yields, this year’s peanut crop is certainly much better than it has been the past few growing seasons, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“Starting off, it was geared to be an above-average year, but I feel a rough August cost us a little bit of yield,” said Dr. Jason Woodward, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist and statewide peanut specialist of Lubbock.

Peanuts require a lot of water, as much as 2 feet per acre, much of which usually comes from irrigation, he said. But given pumping costs and water table levels and the need for higher quality, growers also rely on rainfall to supplement irrigation, and August was drier and hotter than normal.

Still, Woodward expects yields to be in the range of 3,800 to 4,200 pounds per acre.

“Still a little above-average year, and much better off than we’ve been the last two years,” he said.

Peanut production in Texas peaked in the 1990s, with as much as 300,000 acres grown annually, he said. For the last 10 years, competition for other crops, such as cotton, and the water needs of peanuts, have brought the average yearly production down to about 125,000 acres.

Increasing feral hog damage has also been a discouragement for peanut growers, he said. A troop of feral hogs, which is called a sounder, can root up several acres overnight. They may attack the crop at all stages of production, from planting to pegging to digging.

“Feral hogs like peanuts for the same reason people do,” Woodward said. “They’re high in protein and essential oils.”

Most Texas peanuts are grown in the High Plains and Rolling Plains; however, Frio and Atascosa counties account for 15 to 20 percent of acres, he said. Harvesting times for peanuts in Texas are opposite of other crops. Harvesting begins first in the High Plains, followed shortly thereafter in the Rolling Plains.

“Central Texas is later, and harvesting typically concludes in South Texas, as they can plant later,” he said. “Overall, I would say peanut harvest is nearly complete.”

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported conditions remained about the same as last week, with some ice, rain, fog, and light drizzle. Rangeland and pastures took a hit from the continued freezes, but overall remained in good condition. Wheat plantings were completed. Livestock were in good condition, and small grains were in fair to good condition. Soil-moisture levels remained fair. Livestock producers continued to provide supplemental feeding. Deer activity was high.

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the South District, including Atascosa County, reported cold temperatures and wet conditions continued. Counties in the northern part of the region reported adequate soil-moisture levels. Atascosa and Frio counties reported 100 percent adequate soil moisture, and McMullen reported 60 percent adequate soil moisture. Damp conditions slowed the last of Atascosa County’s peanut harvesting. Atascosa County cattle producers put bulls in with cows for the fall calving season. Winter conditions in that area were judged to be more favorable to agriculture than in past years. Livestock grazing was good on native rangeland and pastures, which were in fair to good condition.

Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.
 

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