Peanuts: America's Favorite Non-Nut Takes Grit to Produce Says Dr. Ron ScholarWed, 15 Sep 2021 15:04:35 CDT
To many people, peanuts are a bit of a mystery. First off, their name is deceiving; peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes. That fact may now have your head spinning with other questions if you are not in the know about peanuts. Luckily, for curious peanut fans, Radio Oklahoma’s Associate Farm Director KC Sheperd traveled to Hydro, Okla. to report on the 2021 peanut crop.
Among the fluffy rows of peanut plants, Sheperd spoke with Dr. Ron Scholar, executive director of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission, who said this year’s crop is looking good.
“We started off very late, because of the cool weather,” Scholar said. “Even the peanuts that were planted early took off very poorly because of the wet, cold soil.”
Annually, Scholar said about 100 peanut farmers produce about 15,000 acres, yielding an average of 4,000 pounds of peanuts per acre, according to Scholar. Being a peanut farmer is not easy, it takes dedication, he added.
“They are top-notch producers,” Scholar said. “Peanuts are too expensive to grow for any reason other than money.”
Thanks to science and hardworking farmers, peanut varieties are better now than they were just 10 years ago, Scholar said. As peanut harvest season draws closer, the months of hard work peanut farmers put into their tasty crop are about to pay off. According to Scholar, there are some things farmers should be looking out for come harvest.
“Most will be harvested in October,” Scholar said. “There are concerns these days about early frost and freeze.”
His concern is not unfounded. Remember last year’s October Ice Storm? If peanuts are harvested too early, they are not able to fully mature, leaving farmers with low quality, small yields.
“If you are talking about harvesting peanuts the third week of September, a lot of times that is not a good idea,” Scholar said. “Some believe they need to get started - and perhaps they do, but that will be done at a sacrifice.”
Hit the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from KC Sheperd’s interview with Dr. Ron Scholar as they discuss peanut-harvesting strategy once they are out of the ground.
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