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“In 2010, the quality of the crop grown in the Southeastern states was not up to par,” Kubicek said. “In fact, 30 percent of that crop from last year is going to be crushed for oil because it’s not satis- factory for an edible mar- ket.”

Due to the possible shortage, he said peanut farmers in Oklahoma and Texas could see pre- miums offered for their product, which could en- courage some of them to grow more acres. The oth- er advantage Oklahoma producers have is their crop’s health benefi ts or high oleic content.

There are more than 150 peanut producers in the state who grow more than 20,000 acres of peanuts every year. Oklahoma peanut farmers currently are planting this year’s crop and will harvest it in October. Courtesy photos

“Oklahoma and Texas are the only states in the nation that predominantly produce high-oleic pea- nuts that have a very long shelf life,” Kubicek said. “Our candy manufacturers are looking to the South- west for those quality peanuts and are willing to pay enough to producers to get them to plant more this year.” Offi cials at the peanut commission said peanut plants do best in low-humidity environments and sandy soil where irrigation is common practice. For many farmers, peanuts are a part of their crop-

rotation programs and help break up disease cycles. Thanks to strategic crop rotation, Kubicek said, Oklahoma peanut yields are now more than a ton and a half per acre.

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Meanwhile, researchers continue to look for ways to increase peanut yields. Oklahoma State Univer- sity Oilseed Specialist Chad Godsey said the Peanut Improvement Team, which consists of himself, plant pathologists, weed scientists, entomologists and agronomists, are trying to improve yields and profi t- ability for Oklahoma peanut farmers. “We have a close association with USDA Agricul- tural Research Services in Stillwater,” Godsey said.

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“On a yearly basis, we’re evaluating disease-re- sistant varieties regard- ing yield potential and their fi t for Oklahoma.” Godsey said farmers grow four main mar- ket types of peanuts in Oklahoma, including the Spanish, Runner, Virginia and Valencia. “Oklahoma has al- ways been known as a Spanish-producing state,” he said. “Span- ish peanuts have his- torically been used for candy bars; Runners could be candy but are mainly in peanut but- ter; Virginias are large

pods usually sold in the shell; and Valencias are often sold in the shell.” As a semi-perishable crop, Kubicek said, peanuts are

marketed and sold much differently from other ag- ricultural products. Unlike wheat, corn or soybeans, peanuts are not stored on the farm and delivered to town whenever the market encourages the producer to deliver and sell. Instead, peanuts are delivered to a “buying point,” or warehouse for USDA inspection and grading, and then placed in segregated storage by market type.

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