Peanut Crop Report as of 2 May 2022
We are in May and the peanut farms are at the digging and harvesting stage. Although the state of the peanut crop presents very heterogeneous characteristics, depending on the analysed geographical area, in general terms we can say that the crop is in good to fair conditions. Despite the fact that April did not bring important rains in the peanut region, the peanuts managed to advance its evolution into physiological maturity, so the digging -inverting activities began to develop as planned, but at a slower pace than expected. As this report is issued, the digging has reached 39% of the total area planted.
Percentage of Dug Areas
The progress of this task is slower compared to the previous season, because the peanuts did not reach the desired levels of physiological maturity (PM), above 60%; therefore, producers and agronomists considered it better to wait longer without digging, trying to obtain a higher level of physiological maturity to avoid yield loss due to grain weight reduction. The frosts at the end of March caused considerable damage to the peanut crops, which were with an incipient physiological maturity of less than 30%, almost completely stopping their evolution.
There are also lots of peanuts affected by soil diseases (Sclerotinia for example), where yield losses are also expected. Unlike the previous season, where the good results were homogeneous and generalized, this harvest will be characterized by heterogeneous production yields. The North, Centre-South and South zones are the ones with the best prospects, while the West and Central zones present lower yields. At of the date of this report, we estimate a general weighted average yield of between 2.7 and 3 tons/ha (peanuts in shell, dry and clean basis).
The comparison with the survey detailed in the last report shows the following:
|Condition||Current report||Previous report|
Most of the crop is in the R7 and R8 phenological stage (harvest maturity), so water consumption is practically nil. In addition, as we approach winter, the days are shorter and with less sunlight, so the cycle of filling and loading the crop is considered complete. Consequently, it is essential to continue moving quickly with the harvesting tasks, in order to reduce the chances of further losses.
Regarding the task of harvesting, although it has already started in those lots that were dug early, only 5% of the total planted area has been completed. The first lots of farmer stock received at the production plants arrived with humidity levels around 15-17%, so artificial drying was necessary.
Comparing the previous season, at this same time, the physiological maturity of the peanut was around 60%, while in the current harvest the percentage reaches 40% and this is a fundamental aspect when estimating the yield potential. The main cause is that the climate conditions throughout this season were less favourable, with the addition of the frosts produced at the end of March.
Our Reference Map of peanut production areas
The main peanut areas in Argentina include the provinces of Córdoba, La Pampa, San Luis and Buenos Aires.
Precipitation and temperature analysis
At the end of April, we can indicate that the accumulated rainfall was scarce in the entire peanut area, only producing some rains in the Northern and Eastern areas, and not sufficient enough to cause significant changes in the crop. As seen at the BCCBA’s monthly rainfall report, there is evidence of a negative balance of rainfall in terms of its historical average. According to data from the BCCBA, more than 90% of the departments of Cordoba have a deficit in their profiles, a process that has been manifesting for three months. In late March and early April there was a general drop in temperatures throughout the peanut area, including frosts. The areas most affected by this phenomenon were the South, West, Centre-South and Centre, therefore, the tasks of digging were intensified in the most affected fields. Arriving at the end of the month of April, during Thursday the 28th and Friday the 29th, low temperatures were recorded throughout the peanut area. During the early morning temperatures dropped to values below 0ºC in several locations in the South, West and Centre-South. These low temperatures could affect the harvest of peanuts digged late.
Regarding thermal records, April temperatures recorded values lower than the historical average according to the zone’s statistics. The average minimum temperatures were around 11°C, while the average maximum temperatures were between 22°C and 24°C.
Projected field tasks
We observe a continuous advance of soil diseases such as wilt (Sclerotinia) and peanut smut. In those lots that have been affected by any of these diseases, the digging process was accelerated, with the aim of minimizing losses. This situation was more detrimental to long-cycle cultivars, which, had to be uprooted although the maturity was not reached.
We continue to observe important levels of smut. However, farms with a better rotation, show a lower incidence of the disease.
Evolution of the phenological state of the crop
The peanut crop is reaching the final stages of growth (R7 & R8). From now until the end of the harvest, it is essential that the weather conditions are optimal.
With crop development completed, the focus now shifts to digging and harvesting. Unlike the rest of the season, in which producers expected good rains and temperatures, the weather must now change to sunny and dry conditions so as not to hinder harvesting activities in the fields.
Phenological states by zone
Peanut Development Stages
|V1: first tetrafoliolate leaf|
V2: second tetrafoliolate leaf
V3: third tetrafoliolate leaf
V4: fourth tetrafoliolate leaf
V – (N): one to N developed nodes on main axis
|R1: beginning bloom|
R2: beginning peg R3: beginning pod
R4: full pod
R5: beginning seed
R6: full seed
R7: beginning maturity
R8: harvest maturity
As we focus on the digging and harvesting tasks, which are the last critical steps in the peanut cycle, it is essential that the weather conditions are sunny and without rain. This would ensure the process without any problems. The harvest looks decent, in good condition even though the situation of these can be described more accurately as heterogeneous considering that, in the same areas we can find peanut farms with higher or lower yields per hectare. This great heterogeneity is caused by the climatic variability that we had in the course of crop development. We emphasize that the current harvest is worse than the one of the 2020/2021 season, which we must admit, was very good.
This stage of digging and harvesting is critical and if there were bad weather conditions this situation could change for the worse, therefore, it is very important to move quickly to avoid additional losses in yield and quality.
The last frosts caused damage that we still cannot quantify in terms of its impact on production.
On the other hand, good weather conditions will help prevent artificial drying, in a context of natural gas scarcity, a basic input for the operation of the dryers.
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