Peanuts are a commonly-planted crop among agricultural producers, but like other hot-weather crops, they require specific machinery and preparations to ensure a successful harvest. Having the right machinery on hand, such as peanut harvesters, can be beneficial at the end of the season, but you’ll also need a few basic facts about how peanuts are grown, harvested, and stored. Let’s take a look at 6 things every farmer should know before harvesting and storing a crop of peanuts:
1. When are Peanuts Harvested?
Generally speaking, peanuts take between six and eight weeks to fully mature. Because they are typically planted at the end of the spring, they are often ready for harvest by late summer or early fall. Once peanuts have a dark brown or black hull, they are ready to be harvested.
2. How are Peanuts Harvested?
Peanuts can be easily harvested by carefully digging up the plant and shaking off the excess soil. A digger can be used to sever the roots of the plants and pull them away from the ground. Afterward, peanuts are typically placed in a windrow with their leaves facing downward. Agricultural producers typically give them at least three days to fully dry and cure.
3. How are Peanuts Shelled?
While it is not uncommon to withhold some peanuts for next year’s seed, most of the crop is sent to a sheller before being sold to market. The sheller specializes in cleaning the peanuts before using a machine to remove their shells. The machinery pushes the peanuts through perforated grates to separate the kernels from the shells.
4. Types of Peanuts and Their Harvest Timelines
Peanuts are either bunch-type or runner-type, and this dictates their harvest timeline. Runner-type peanuts grow via vines and require more space to thrive. They typically take between 130 and 150 days to fully mature.
Bunch-type peanuts grow their nuts at the end of their branches. Because they do not have as high a yield as runner-type peanuts, they are not typically grown by agricultural producers. However, those who do plant bunch-type peanuts usually need at least 120 days for this crop to reach maturity.
5. How to Store and Prepare Harvested Peanuts
Peanuts are typically stored in mesh bags, which allow them to receive proper ventilation over the course of several months. When it comes time to consume the peanuts, they can be roasted in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes. Afterward, they can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to a year. Harvested peanuts can also be boiled in water over the course of a few hours. This type of preparation, however, requires the peanuts to be eaten immediately after cooking.
6. What Equipment is Used to Harvest Peanuts?
Many agricultural producers turn to John Deere for the versatile tractors they need to power their peanut harvest. John Deere produces multiple types of row crop tractors ideal for mounting your peanut harvesting equipment across their 6-, 7-, and 8-series tractor lineups, ensuring that you’ll be able to find at least one model that’s perfect for your peanut harvest this year.
If you have questions about how peanut harvesting equipment can help you with your harvest this year, be sure to contact your local used John Deere dealer.