Arkansas peanuts owe a quick harvest and low disease pressure to a dry 2022 summer
⋅ BY MARY HIGHTOWER ⋅
U of A System Division of Agriculture
The droughty summer of 2022 made harvest both easier and more challenging for Arkansas’ peanut farmers.
“The hot summer conditions suppressed flowering and thus suppressed pod set for several weeks creating two distinct crops: early and late,” said Travis Faske, extension pathologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
The early-late conundrum created “a challenge for farmers to wait until the late crop matures or harvest the early one and take a hit on yield and grade,” he said. “As expected, grades and yield were lower at the beginning of harvest compared to the end.”
On the other hand, dry conditions during harvest enabled one of the quickest harvests in recent years with nearly 90 percent of the crop harvested by the end of October,” Faske said.
Another plus to the dry weather was that disease pressure was low from the usual suspects — tomato spotted wilt virus and Verticillium wilt, and average for southern and Sclerotinia blight.
Arkansas farmers grew about 2,000 fewer acres of peanuts in 2022 compared to 2021. The November forecast from the National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated harvested acres at 32,000 acres in Arkansas.
“This was due to good soybean and cotton prices and more acres in Missouri,” Faske said. “Overall, the south-central region had about 7,000 fewer acres than in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
“Conditions were good for planting with no major issues, maybe some starting too early,” Faske said.
Prices were about the same as 2021, “approximately $500 per ton for first ton. Those that grow a high oleic acid cultivar get a little more per pound,” he said.
Faske said 2022, was a “slightly better than average year with yield estimates at 5,000 pounds per acre. Of course, there are always those stories of 6,900 pounds per acre field average.”
Mary Hightower is University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture communications director. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.