Peanut farming is a lucrative agricultural business with huge returns, and It thrives in different environments. It is a leguminous cash crop grown in arid and semi-arid regions. It is used for a wide variety of products, and it also serves as a means of export in some countries.
Cultural Practices in Peanut Farming
Groundnut is cultivated in a sandy-loam soil or a sandy clay loam soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0on a well-fertilized soil. The right temperature of groundnut is 27-30˚c. It has a high demand for water for good germination. It requires optimal rainfall between 450-1250mm for seeds to grow and mature. Peanut is of different varieties like; Red valence, Texas peanut, Homa bay.
It Is of best practice to remove weeds from the farm six weeks before planting, and it must be done before the start of the rainy seasons. The land is plowed and tilled using tractors, plowing machines, or human effort. Fungicides and insecticides are sprayed before planting to avoid pest attacks. Plowing gets rid of weed residue, underground disease organisms, and insects present in the soil.
In growing groundnut, the land needs to be fertile for maximum output. The recommended type of fertilizer is N.P.K (Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus) and calcium. The soil is tested to know its fertility level before its application. In some farms, especially in a small-seeded variety of groundnut, this quantity of fertilizer can be applied per hectare.
300kg of Calcium
25kg of Nitrogen
100kg of Phosphorus
50kg of Potassium
Peanut is a seed that is easily attacked by fungi and can be damaged if not properly handled. Split or damaged seeds cannot germinate. Select high-quality, viable seeds for good yield. Seeds must be treated in fungicides to control attacks.
Spacing and Soil depth
Groundnut is planted on a ridge or flat ground with a spacing of 50cm between rows and 30cm between plants for small-seeded variety and 75cm between rows and 45cm between plants. Spacing is very important because peanut is a leguminous plant.
The soil depth is 7.5cm. This enhances good productivity. Planting seeds too deep may take longer to sprout up and a low-quality yield. Shallow depth of seed of less than 50mm is practiced on fields where the moisture content is rich. The ideal planting depth is 50mm.
Weeds are unwanted plants that compete for nutrients, space, and sunlight. Proper weed management is important in groundnut farming. It can be controlled mechanically by using a hoe to remove weeds from the farm or chemically using herbicides.
Intercropping and crop rotation are adopted in peanut farming. This helps the utilization of nutrients and reduces soil-borne diseases.
Harvesting of Peanuts
In groundnut farming it takes three months from planting to maturity. There are some processes to be carried out in the harvest of peanuts. This includes: Digging, lifting, windrowing, stocking, and threshing.
How to identify a mature groundnut plant
A mature groundnut plant is known by observing the leaves. Once the yellow spot is found spreading on the leaf surface shows the groundnut is matured for harvest. It can also be detected by breaking the pod the mature peanuts should fill the pods at maturity. If the insides of the pods are dark in color, this shows the peanut is over mature for boiling but great for dry roasting. Harvest peanuts fertility before it exceeds full maturity to have a good yield
Uses and By-Products of Peanut
- It is used industrially by chemical industries to make paint and varnish
- It is used to produce leather dressing, lubricating oil, insecticides, Nitroglycerin from groundnut oil.
- Groundnut oil is used for soap making by saponification
- Aerial is protein groundnut used in textile industries to produce synthetic fiber
- The shells of peanuts are used for wallboards, abrasives, fuel. It is to produce cellulose
- Peanut is pressed to make oils for cooking and selling
- It is exported unshelled to other countries to boost the economy
- Peanut is consumed as confectionery, roasted, salted, or boiled
- It is used in making peanut butter, cakes, peanut soups, and chocolate bars
Tools Required in Peanut Farming
- A plow
- Peanut picker
- Field cultivator
- Digger –shaker-inverter
- Granular applicator
Peanut farmers in the U.S earn about $62,137 per annum and $30 per hour.
Statistics of Peanut Export Globally
Peanut is sold globally as an export commodity and also locally to consumers. 48% of its production is consumed as food, while 52% is crushed to make groundnut oil and cake, which can be sold to companies like pharmaceuticals and paint and soap making industries. In the U.S, 60% of its product is used largely to manufacture food and 10% for oil. The kernels are widely in a ton at an export price of $830 per ton in 2020. In China, the wholesale price of roasted raw blanched peanuts per kilogram is $700.00-1,800/metric ton. According to world export trade, an average of 1.2million tons of groundnut has been valued at 948million dollars per annum over the last five years.
The market for sales of peanut
Peanut can also be sold locally in bags to consumers, and it can be processed as food products and sold in local markets. It can be sold shelled and unshelled to local and international markets. It can be supplied to groundnut mills or local exporters.
Costs of Starting a Peanut Farm
The estimated cost of starting a peanut farm is about $13,260. This cost is broken into two includes; Variable cost: Cost of fertilizers, cost of seed, chemicals, land, rent, machine, labor, and maintenance.
Fixed costs: This Includes costs of irrigation, plowing, insurance, and taxes. This cost is dependent on factors like location and availability of resources.
If you are into agriculture, groundnut is the prince of legumes due to its product versatility. It is a very high-yielding venture with good returns. Peanut is an oilseed and food crop grown across approximately 42 million acres worldwide. It can easily be managed and cultivated with its high consumption rate. It makes it very marketable both in its raw and processed forms.