Organic Peanut Farming Procedure
Introduction Organic Peanuts:
Organic peanuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They have lots of manganese. Peanuts are relatively high in magnesium and phosphorous, as well as vitamin E and niacin (vitamin B3). Organic peanuts are extremely affordable. They pack several nutrients in a small serving size. Organic peanut butter is often marketed as a health food, it recommended as part of a weight-loss lunch or a healthy snack.
Organic production of peanuts relies on management techniques that replenish & maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing the soil’s biological activity. This is achieved through crop rotation, cover cropping or composting & using organically accepted fertilizers that feed the soil and provide plants with nutrients. In addition to producing high-quality crops, healthy & well-balanced soil can help plants develop natural resistance to insect pests and diseases.
Production and trade:
In general, Organic peanut production in the United States is rising. American peanuts are considered to be the highest quality in the world. The United States exports from 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons of Organic peanuts per year (American Peanut Council, 2002).
In 2016, world production of peanuts was 44 million tonnes, led by China with 38% of the global entire followed by India (16%). Other major producers were Nigeria, the United States, and Sudan. Major exporters in 2013 were India with 541,337 tones, which accounts for 32% of world total export, & the United States with 19% of total exports. The European Union imported 52% of the world contribute to shelled peanuts in 2013, with the Netherlands alone accounting for 40% of the European total.
Production of Organic Peanuts
Soil requirement for Organic Peanut Farming:
Organic peanuts grow best in light, sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.9 to 7. Their capacity to fix nitrogen means that providing they modulate properly, peanuts advantage little or not at all from nitrogen-containing have fertilized, and they better soil fertility. Therefore, they are important in crop rotations. Also, the yield of the peanut crop itself is increased in rotations, through reduced diseases, pests & weeds. For instance, in Texas, peanuts in a three-year rotation with corn yield 50% more than non-rotated Organic peanuts. Adequate levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and micronutrients are necessary for good yields. To develop well, peanuts need warm weather during the growing season. They can be developed with as little as 350 mm (14 in) of water, but for best yields need at least 500 mm (20 in).
Moisture requirement for Organic Peanut Farming:
The peanut seed has a high demand for water through germination. For optimum germination, high soil moisture is necessary to facilitate the 35 to 40% water intake by imbibing seeds. Seeds must be planted when moisture levels are favorable for rapid germination & growth. Rapid germination & vigorous growth help the young plant to counteract diseases.
Climate requirement for Organic Peanut Farming:
Organic peanuts are adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions. They are moderately drought tolerant & require about a minimum of 400 mm rainfall during the growing period. For optimum growth, however, an annual rainfall range of 750-1250 mm is normally considered necessary. Duration of the growing period is cultivar dependent & generally lies within a 90 to 140 days range. Peanuts are day neutral & flowering initiation is unaffected by photoperiod. Temperature is the main limiting factor for peanut yield. The germination temperature range is 15 to 45oC. During the rising period, an average temperature of 22 to 27oC is required. Dry weather is required for ripening & harvesting.
Land preparation for Organic Peanut Farming:
Good land preparation is critical for maximum moisture retention, precision planting, fast uniform seed germination, and effective weed & disease control. The first tillage must take place six weeks before planting using a disc plough. This tillage involves deep turning of the soil 20 to 30 cm in depth to entirely bury weed seed & incorporate crop residues.
The second tillage operation is conducted using a spike harrow in order to create a suitable seedbed that is loose, smooth & level. On virgin soils, clearing & leveling is necessary. However, heavy equipment is not suggested for leveling since these contribute to soil compaction. The second tillage operation is conducted using a spike harrow in order to create a suitable seedbed that is loose, smooth & level. On virgin soils, clearing & leveling is necessary. However, heavy equipment is not recommended for leveling since these give to soil compaction.
Organic soil preparation and fertility:
Organic peanut growers need to obtain a sense of their soil fertility by obtaining a soil test report with recommendations specifically for peanuts. Previous experience with rotational cover crops & compost or manure applications is also helpful. Organic peanut growers must work closely with crop advisers familiar with organic production & peanuts.
Lime is necessary for successful peanut production. Soil pH needs to be carefully monitored & should be in the 5.8 to 6.2 range for Southern growers. Large-seeded Virginia peanuts require high calcium content in the soil surface at pegging for pod development & quality. Land plaster or gypsum, a by-product of drywall, is not allowed as a basis of calcium in organic production. Mined sources of gypsum are acceptable.
Excessive levels of potassium within the fruiting zone, or the top two to three inches of soil, are associated with peanut pod rot. Potassium competes with calcium uptake at pegging, resulting in a high percentage of pops, or unfilled shells. Any potash (K2O) is incorporated along with the preceding crop’s fertilizer, if possible, in order to permit enough time for potassium to move below the fruiting zone before pegging. Manganese deficiency may happen when soil pH exceeds 6.2. Again, careful soil monitoring and soil & plant analysis are recommended. The amount of boron recommended in a soil check report prevents hollow heart in peanuts. Boron can be applied as a pre-plant broadcast treatment along with other fertilizer function, or as a foliar spray near systems. Finding the right rotation crop in terms of profitability & agronomic characteristics can be challenging. Factors like geography, climate & irrigation capabilities are important to consider when choosing suitable rotational crops.
Seed Quality Importance for Organic Peanut Farming:
A major constraint is non-availability of quality seed of suitable & adaptable improved varieties to the farmers. The seed is a basic input and it alone would enhance production & productivity if the quality was assured. The seed quality is a mixture of multiple attributes. It refers mainly to genetic and physical purity, physiological & health quality. These parameters independently and in interaction with each other represent the overall quality of seed. The peanut propagation material must possess all the major quality attributes above the prescribed standards. The poor stand is perhaps the most general cause of low yields. To obtain a full stand, use undamaged seed with intact seed coats & treat shelled seed with a seed dressing prior to planting.
Season or Timing of Organic Peanut Farming:
Commercial production must be limited to the May-June season. Planting is dependent on the onset of the rains & it extends to the end of May or in some instances up to mid-June. It is better to plant during the middle of the rainy season that is May/June or November/December so that the crop matures in the dry season. This makes very easier for harvesting.
Seed spacing and Seed rate for Organic Peanut Farming:
Seed spacing & row width will depend upon grower practices; whether mechanization is used or the crop is handled with labor. Normally in peanuts, the higher the planting density, the higher the yield.
Closeness seed spacing promotes compact fruiting, even maturity, weed suppression and reduces soil erosion. For mechanized systems, the current obtainable technology in the savannahs, allows, primarily in a row spacing of 75 cm & wider. Seeds are generally sown at a rate of 80 kg/ha for runner varieties and 75 Kg/ha for bunchy varieties.
Propagation of Peanuts:
Peanut is usually propagated from seed. Seeds should be planted in a well-prepared seedbed in soil that is loose & crumbly with no large clumps. The seedbed must be free from weeds which will compete with the peanut seedlings. Weeds can be removed by hand cultivating or through the use of an appropriate herbicide. Peanut seeds must be planted by hand to a depth of 3–5 cm (1–2 in). It is best to ridge the soil or use flatbeds as this will create harvesting the peanuts easier. Peanuts can be developed a sole crop or intercropped with other crops such as corn (maize), cassava or soybean.
Plants use a combination of mineral & non-mineral nutrients. The mineral nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium; non-mineral nutrients include oxygen, hydrogen & carbon. The non-mineral nutrients are found in the air & water, whereas mineral nutrients are obtained through fertilizers & naturally occurring matter in the soil. While the peanuts themselves, as part of the legume family, are nitrogen-rich, the peanut shells have very little nitrogen. According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, peanut shells have only 1.2 percent nitrogen. The levels of potassium & phosphorus are lower at 0.8 and 0.5 percents, respectively.
Irrigation requirement for Organic Peanut Farming:
Peanut seedlings develop tap & lateral roots quickly. Seedlings need 20 inches to 30 inches of water per season. Daily water use is about 0.25 inches per day & 0.4 inches if the weather is extremely hot.
Weeds are the main problem for peanuts, especially during the first 4-8 weeks. They reduce yields by competition, interference with harvest & by harboring pests. Peanut is naturally a poor weed competitor & emphasis on cultural practices such as good land preparation and crop rotation are best-suggested practices to farmers.
Organic fertilizers and organic manures
Although there is extensive research on the suppressive result of aerobic compost products on plant diseases, in the container based or ﬁeld scale, there is less of vermicomposts. The main reason for that is that the potential of the vermicomposting approach for plant production & protection was discovered later than composting. Second, utilization of a vermicomposting process requires well-balanced & stable maintenance, conditions that make vermicomposting a more delicate process than aerobic composting. Third, because of the difficulty in yielding large amounts of high-quality vermicompost, ﬁeld applications of vermicompost for agricultural purposes are quite scarce. Excessive & frequent applications of chemical pesticides in conventional agriculture induced “biological resistance” in crop pathogens and pests. Hence, logarithmically the growth of high-yielding crops which have become more susceptible to pests and diseases. Vermicompost function has a great potential to reduce the use of chemical pesticides & fertilizers; therefore, signiﬁcantly to cut down on the costs of food production.
Read: Vermicompost Production.
Neem cake is a unique promise as fertilizer & it provides various nutrients. If the cake is mixed into the soil, it will improve cash crops & also protects plant roots from white ants and nematodes. Besides, the manurial value is shown in the table it also contains 0.77% Calcium & 0.75% Magnesium. This will aid eliminate alkalinity in the soil. It will reduce the number of soil insect pests, fungi, bacteria, and nematodes & protect the plants from the damage caused by these organisms. It also produces organic acids which help in eliminating alkalinity in the soil.
The only type of lime that should be used for an organic vegetable garden is ground limestone. Lime adds calcium to the soil & raises the pH. It is a good idea to test soil levels of lime before applying. It provides a source of calcium & magnesium for plants and permits improved water penetration for acidic soils. It improves the uptake of main plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) of plants growing on acid soils.
Lime may occur naturally in some soils but may need the addition of sulfuric acid for its agricultural benefits to be realized. Gypsum is used to supply calcium for plant nutrition.
Composting consists of various decayed organic materials that consist of a balance of carbon & nitrogen. Microorganisms feed on the decaying substance, which in turn releases nutrients into the soil. While there are several organic materials that decompose, not all contain the minerals needed to produce beneficial compost for the garden. Peanut shells have carbon. It would be beneficial to include peanut shells in addition to nitrogen-rich organic materials in the compost pile.
Mulch protects plant roots from injuring extreme hot or cold weather causes. In addition, it helps retain water necessary for a plant’s overall health. Peanut shells, or hulls, have a hard texture related to wood chips. The shells take a long time to decompose, which makes them helpful as a protective layer, as mulch, and not as a fertilizer, which needs to decompose faster to benefit plant health.
Read: Types Of Mulching.
Pests of Peanut Plants:
Thrips often cause stunted plants with leaves that are scarred & “possum eared” (leaves edges are turned down). Thrips transmit the virus that causes spotted wilt in peanuts. Thrips can be controlled by the use of systemic insecticides useful at planting or with foliar sprays.
Leaf feeding caterpillar:
When in abundance, they can strip plants of foliage & migrate or “march” to other host plants. Once flowering & pegging begin, loss of leaves can reduce the ability of the plant to produce pods. When used correctly, chemical insecticides can prevent insect damage & increase yield.
Weevil attacks the peanuts during storage & can cause significant damage once the pest populations are high. Jute bags or sacks used for storage can be treated with neem oil or neem extracts to prevent pests, particularly weevils & flour beetles from penetrating for several months.
Peanut Root-Knot Nematode:
Root-knot nematodes exist in the soil in the structure of eggs or larvae. Larvae begin feeding on the root tissue, which causes plant cells to increase in size & number. After 20 to 30 days, the larvae swell into large females. The female produces about 200 eggs to 1500 eggs in a gelatinous matrix.
Diseases of Peanut Plants:
Black hull, a disease reason by the fungus Theilaviopsis basicola, affects the pods & mostly attacks susceptible Spanish peanut varieties in the West. Disease developments are alkaline soils, poor drainage, and low temperatures late in the season, heavy soils and crop rotation with susceptible crops like cotton or alfalfa. Careful choices of planting location & appropriate crop rotations, as well as early planting, are important for organic production.
White grubs live in the soil & feed on the underground parts of peanut plants. The larvae are smooth & grayish white with hard brown heads. Mature grubs contain curved 1/2 to one inch long bodies with six prominent legs.
Southern blight (stem rot):
The disease in Organic peanut is caused by the fungus Sclerotium rolfsii. The fungus spreads from impure plants to adjacent ones. Control methods in organic production, contain the use of a deep covering of crop residue, flat cultivation to avoid pulling soil. Trash toward the plants & crop rotation with grain sorghum to reduce the number of infectious sclerotia.
Southern corn rootworms bore into young plants & feed on peanut pegs and pods in the soil. These insects can slow healthy increase or even kill entire peanut plants. They’re about 1/2 inch long, slender & yellowish white with a brown head. This pest is the larval phase of the spotted cucumber beetle.
Leaf spot is a fungus that’s particularly prevalent in areas where the weather is warm and moist. Small spots with light centers appear on plant leaves, eventually causing the leaves to turn yellow & drop off. To control leaf spot, rotate crops, plant certified disease-free seeds, remove & burn damaged leaves, and stay away from the plants when they’re wet.
The first readily apparent symptoms of southern blight are rapid yellowing & wilting of limbs or entire plants. Affected limbs and plants then turn brown & die as a result of the decay of the lower stem. Southern blight infection is characterized by white or cream colored moldy growth covering the lower stems & importing a whitewashed appearance to the base of the affected plants.
Harvesting Techniques of Peanuts:
The peanut harvesting procedure occurs in two stages. Digging, which is the first stage, begins when samples specify a maximum maturity. Early or late digging results in lower yields & a lower percentage of mature pods. Mature peanuts have the greatest flavor. At optimum soil moisture, a digger proceeds along the rows of peanut plants driving a horizontal blade 4 to 6 inches under the soil. The digger loosens the plant & cuts the taproot. A shaker lifts the plant from the soil, gently shakes the soil from the peanut pods & inverts the plant. A windrow of inverted plants results & this exposes the pods to the sun.
The peanuts are now prepared for the second phase of the harvest that is combining. After drying in the field for two or three days, a peanut combine also called as a thresher separates the pods from the vines, placing the peanut pods into a hopper on the top of the machine. The vines are returned to the field to improve soil fertility & organic matter. Freshly harvested peanut pods are then positioned into drying wagons. Further curing with forced hot air gradually circulating during the wagons. In the curing process, moisture content is reduced to 8 to 10% for safe storage.
Post-Harvesting of Peanuts
Peanuts contain 25 to 50 percent moisture when first dug & must be dried to 10 percent or less so they can be stored. They are usually left in windrows for 2 or 3 days to cure, or dry before being combined. During this time, hulls are naturally bleached from sun exposure.
Once the nuts are properly cured, peanut storage must occur in mesh bags stored in a cool, well-ventilated area until you choose to roast them. Peanuts do have high oil content & as such, will eventually go rancid. To lengthen the life of peanuts, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several months or in the freezer for several years.
The Yield of Peanuts:
In normal conditions, one can simply harvest peanuts about more than 25 to 30 quintals seeds per hectare via growing high yielding and improved variety of peanuts.