2015 a strong year for Arkansas peanuts
By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Dec. 11, 2015
- Peanut acreage experiences strong growth over 2014
- Runner peanuts currently fetching about $424 per ton
LITTLE ROCK — Peanuts in Arkansas enjoyed their strongest numbers in four years as some growers in the Delta shifted acreage away from cotton.
Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said Arkansas growers planted about 16,325 acres, nearly a 60 percent increase over 2014.
The number approaches 2012’s state high of 18,610 acres planted. Prior to that, peanuts were a rare specialty crop in the state, with fewer than 3,800 acres planted in 2011, and only about 560 acres planted in 2010.
Faske said growers who planted early in the season enjoyed a surprising degree of success due to “good peanut-growing weather” throughout the year.
“Some growers did really well when they planted early. We thought they were going to have some challenges, but they actually turned out really well,” Faske said. “Others who planted in May were kind of slow, due to cool weather, but caught up as conditions improved.
“But things looked really good overall,” he said. “Disease pressure was low, and growers did a good job of controlling weed.”
Faske said the quality of the year’s harvest was slightly lower than that of 2014, when most nuts fell in the mid-70’s on the 0-100 on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Total Sound Mature Kernel scale, or TSMK.
“We’re probably going to be a little bit lower in our grades this year,” he said. “I’m not sure if that’s weather-related, or if we’ve just got a lot more peanuts that are in different stages of maturity, but either may relate to some of the grading just being slightly off.”
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t currently track peanut production in Arkansas, more than 21,000 tons of Arkansas peanuts were produced in 2014 according to data from the National Peanut Board, with a substantial increase in that number expected in 2015.
After an explosion in U.S. peanut growth in 2012, when market prices sank as low as $385 per ton from as much as $1,000 per ton in 2011, prices have risen slightly for growers. According to a Nov. 24 USDA weekly price report, runner peanuts — which are typically used to make peanut butter, and are the most common type grown in Arkansas — are fetching about $424 per ton from buyers.
To learn more about peanuts in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent or visit www.uaex.edu.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service