Peanut Harvest Update
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
There are numerous factors affecting the decision of when to initiate peanut harvest as we enter the early to middle part of the harvest season.We would like to briefly discuss some of what is happening based on the questions we are getting and what would be the best advice for the producers.
Interpretation of the Hull-Scrape Maturity Profile Chart
Dr. Beasley notes the distinction between the hull-scrape color (the exposed mesocarp layer) and the response of the peanut skin, or testa is a concern to many growers. Growers are concerned that the bronzing or “coppering up” of the testa is an indication that the peanut pod being examined is done maturing. The pre-mature bronzing of the testa is usually a sign of stress, not necessarily that the pod is through maturing. The key is to check the funiculus, or the tiny umbilical-like structure that is the attachment of the kernel to the inner hull wall. If the funiculus is still attached it is functioning and the color change by the mesocarp should still continue. Many of the samples from non-irrigated fields have a high percentage of pods that are “rattling” in the hull. The interpretation is that the seed has detached from the hull. Growers need to be sure to shell out those kernels to see if the funiculus is still attached. In some cases, the funiculus may still be attached but the kernels have lost just enough moisture that enough space is created that the kernels do make a slight rattling sound when shaken. If the funiculus is still attached, the maturation process should still continue. If the funiculus is detached, the maturation process of the pod is over. Growers have to shell the pod very carefully to keep from causing the funiculus to detach from the hull based on the pressure they’ve placed on it. If growers shell it carefully and gently turn the hull upside down, the two kernels should hang from the inside of the hull.
Do we know what percentage of pods turned loose in the hull will require us to recommend digging?
We don’t have that data but Dr. Beasley feels confident in recommending if 50% or higher of the more mature pods have turned loose in the hull then we can recommend to dig. The key is to evaluate the maturity sample from each field and to push the most promising fields as long as we can to increase yield and grade potential.
There are many fields with various levels of leaf spots, white mold, and Rhizoctonia limb rot. White mold has been the primary problem in most fields. We try not to let white mold force us to dig too early, if possible. Don’t let white mold force you to dig too early, if possible, especially if the maturity profile shows two weeks or more to optimal maturity. The yield gain and grade increase potential from the non- affected plants usually outweighs the loss from the diseased plants by a long shot.
Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus) mold
The early loads of non-irrigated peanuts are turning out as a high percentage of Seg 3, meaning visible evidence of A.flavus mold was found in the grade sample. The A. flavus mold growth is triggered by hot, dry conditions close to harvest. Dr. Beasley been asked the question if we should recommend digging early in order to lower the risk of Seg 3 peanuts. His answer is no. It probably doesn’t matter if we wait another week to 10 days on some of these non-irrigated fields because they probably already had the A. flavus mold developing in fields that were very drought stressed. In these cases we probably need to allow the field the remaining time to gain as much weight as possible.
For those non-irrigated fields that are less than 10 days to harvest, producers need to go ahead and dig following these few days of rain. That’s assuming everyone gets this rain. The soil surface in many of these non-irrigated fields is so hard that they could not have dug anyway. The growers need to take advantage of the rain-soaked soils and dig as soon as possible. If non-irrigated fields are still 2 or more weeks from optimal maturity, the producers should wait and we can only hope for another rain event in the next couple of weeks.
The Harvest Decision Relative to
Low Yield Potential, Cost of Harvest and Crop Insurance
by Nathan Smith
Some fields of peanuts may be a total loss or near total loss. The question has come up about when does it not make sense to harvest the peanuts. The answer comes down to how much does it cost to harvest the peanuts. All costs put into the crop up until now are sunk costs, meaning they are spent or fixed. To harvest or not to harvest will not change the sunk costs. The 2011 peanut budgets estimate $75 per acre variable costs for harvesting using 4-row equipment. Six-row equipment is estimated at $65 per acre. These estimates assume $3.50 diesel and $11 labor rate. The pounds needed to cover these costs are shown at different prices received for farmer stock in the table below. For example, at $600 per ton and $75 per acre harvest cost, 250 pounds of peanuts are needed to breakeven. The pounds drop to 188 at $800 per ton. This table can be used to help make a decision on whether to harvest of not depending on your costs and price received.
Quality Adjustments for Seg. 2 and Seg. 3 Peanuts
by Nathan Smith
Unfortunately, there are a number of fields that will likely have Seg.2 and Seg. 3 peanuts again during the 2011 harvest. Crop insurance will adjust for quality for insured causes of loss. An indemnity payment is triggered when the quality adjustment brings the production to count below the production guarantee.
Reports are that some areas have offered $500 per ton for Seg. 3 peanuts. In this case, a quality adjustment would not be made because the price received is more than 85% of the price election which is $500 per ton for 2011. If your price election is $500 per ton, quality loss adjustment will trigger at below $425 per ton. For $600 per ton, the quality loss adjustment will trigger at below $510 per ton.
You can have Seg. 2 and Seg. 3 peanuts, receive a price less than 85% of the price election for those peanuts, and still not trigger a payment. It depends on how many loads are discounted due to poor quality. Every situation will be different. Section 14 (e.) of the Peanut Crop Provisions describes the quality loss adjustment method and is copied below.
(e) Mature peanuts may be adjusted for quality when production has been damaged by an insured cause of loss.
(1) To enable us to determine the number of pounds, price per pound, and the quality of production for any peanuts that qualify for quality adjustment, we must be given the opportunity to have such peanuts inspected and graded before you dispose of them.
(2) If you dispose of any production without giving us the opportunity to have the peanuts inspected and graded, the gross weight of such production will be used in determining total production to count unless you submit a marketing record satisfactory to us which clearly shows the number of pounds, price per pound, and quality of such peanuts.
(3) Such production to count will be reduced if the price per pound received for damaged peanuts is less than 85 percent of the price election by:
(i) Dividing the price per pound for the damaged peanuts, as determined by us in accordance with section 14(e)(1), received for the insured type of peanuts by the applicable price election; and (ii) Multiplying this result by the number of pounds of such production.
Here is an example of a couple scenarios for Seg. 3 peanuts.
Assume a 2,000 lb. yield guarantee (2,857 lb. APH and 70% coverage) and a 100,000 lb total unit guarantee (2000 lb. x 50 acres). The policy on peanuts states that the loss in value due to quality must fall below 85% of the price election.
If the harvest yield is 1,500 lb./ac. on 50 acres, the production to count would be 75,000 lbs. An indemnity would be triggered on the 500 lbs at the price election of $0.25 per pound (could be up to $0.30 pound if grower contracted and turned in the contract by June). The indemnity would be $125 per acre or $6,250 for the unit before quality adjustment.
If the 75,000 lbs harvested went seg 2 or 3 then the production to count would be adjusted for quality loss provided the price received for these peanuts is below $425. The price received for the seg 2 or 3 peanuts is used to derive a factor to adjust the production to count.
Let’s assume the price per pound for the peanuts harvested was $0.10 per pound, then 0.10/0.25 = 0.4 factor. Multiply the factor times the production to count of 75,000 lbs (1,500 if want by acre basis), 0.4 x 75,000 = 30,000. The harvested yield is reduced by 30,000 lbs to give new production to count of 45,000 lbs. The total indemnity is paid on the guarantee minus the production to count, in this case 100,000 – 45,000 = 55,000 lbs. The total payment is figured as $13,750 (55,000 x 0.25). The quality adjustment on the 1,500 lb per acre paid $150 per acre or $7,500 on the unit.
In the case where the actual harvested yield is greater than the 2,000 lb. yield guarantee, 2,800 lbs for instance, there can still be an indemnity if the quality loss is large enough to drop the production to count below the guarantee.
If the entire crop went seg 2 or 3 for 0.10 per pound then the production to count of 140,000 lbs would be multiplied by the 0.4 factor and subtracted from the total harvest yield, 140,000 x 0.4 = 56,000 lb production to count. The 100,000 guarantee minus 56,000 lb. is 44,000 lb. shortfall. The indemnity is calculated as 44,000 x 0.25 = $11,000.
Quality is adjusted by wagon load meaning the peanuts have to be graded but the loss is adjusted in pounds as long as the price received is less than 85% of price election or contracted price in the case of option contracts.
Contact your insurance agent if you think you will have Seg. 2 or Seg. 3 peanuts to make sure you know your options when selling the peanuts.
On The Farm