Rotating with corn and cotton is an excellent way to improve peanut yields, said Mike Howell, Extension peanut specialist with Mississippi State University.
Howell was among the presenters at a production meeting for Arkansas’ growing numbers of peanut producers. Nearly 160 people from more than a dozen counties signed in for the meeting at Black River Technical College, put on by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“The longer we’re out of peanuts, the higher the yield is going to be when we come back to this peanut crop,” Howell said.
“Soybeans are not a real good rotation crop for peanuts. They’re just too similar in diseases and other things.”
Showing data from Georgia, Howell said the average yield for non-rotated peanuts was 2,840 pounds per acre. By contrast, a three-year rotation with two years of corn produced 4,268 pounds per acre, and a three-year rotation with cotton produced 4,229 pounds.
Two years with soybeans produced a yield of 3,684 pounds per acre.
Four-year rotations on irrigated land produced even more eye-popping results.
Rotating two years of cotton before the next peanut cycle produced 5,365 pounds per acre, compared with 4,201 pounds on non-irrigated fields.
Cotton, corn and peanut rotations had the second-highest yields, with irrigation producing average yields of 5,295 pounds per acre.
Dryland peanuts in the same rotation yielded 4,252 pounds per acre.
Growing nothing but peanuts had the lowest numbers: 3,636 pounds per acre on irrigated land, and 2,954 pounds per acre on non-irrigated land.
Harvest is more efficient when peanuts are planted flat rather than on rows, Howell said. When peanuts are inverted, two rows are being dug at one time and combined into a single windrow positioned in the middle of the two rows.
“When the peanuts are combined, you will end up picking up a large amount of soil to get the peanuts,” he said. “It doesn't pay to haul dirt to the buying point.”
Howell also provided growers with other technical information including the advantages of full tillage, where the land is disked, turned and field cultivated; reduced-tillage, which is disked and cultivated; and strip-till, a minimal tillage technique; weed and pest control tactics and the importance of soil testing.