Friday, October 16, 2020

Planting and growing peanuts

The groundnut or peanut is one of the important legume crops of tropical and semiarid tropical countries, where it provides a major source of edible oil and vegetable protein.

The area for planting shall be free from hazardous substances and pesticides that may leave residues or contaminate peanut kernels to the level harmful to consumers.

The best soil suited to peanut production is well-drained, light colored, loose, friable, sandy loam that contains high levels of calcium, a moderate amount of organic matter, and with moderate to slightly acidic pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.5. The topsoil must thus have a low clay content (less than 20%) with a loose structure so that the peg may penetrate the soil freely.

Peanut seed is susceptible to fungal rot in the soil and normally all seeds are treated before planting. The seeds are a placed in a basin big enough for easy mixing. Moisten the seeds with water then pour or mix 100 grams of inoculants (Bradyrhizobium spp.) to 10 kilograms of moistened shelled peanut seeds. Mix thoroughly until all the seeds are coated with inoculants.

Peanuts are normally grown through the summer months and the crop usually takes 18 to 24 weeks from planting to digging. Growing through the summer months means the crop can take advantage of any available rainfall.

The correct planting depth of 50-75 mm ensures that the plant develops and produces optimally. Seed which germinates slowly as a result of deep planting, takes longer to emerge and a substandard plant will be produced.

Groundnuts should not be planted closer than 50 cm in the row. Generally, 150 000 plants per hectare are recommended for dryland production, while 300 000 plants per hectare are ideal for irrigation. Best yields and quality (and therefore the best returns) are obtained either from areas with reliable rainfall, or with access to irrigation.

Peanuts take about 3-5 days for germination and emergence from the soil at 30° C. The primary root system is tap-rooted but many lateral roots also appear about 3 days after germination. Roots are concentrated in the 5 to 35 cm zone below the soil surface, but penetrate the profile to a depth of 135 cm.

Fertilizer requirements are determined on the basis of soil analysis of the area. A balanced quantity levels of phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and nitrogen, is essential to high yields.
Planting and growing peanuts

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