This summer’s cooler temperatures and abundant rainfall has helped many local farmers with crops, including peanuts.
Mike Kubicek, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission, of Shawnee, said rains have eased irrigation costs but said rainfall doesn’t really determine the outcome of the crop because peanuts are usually irrigated and can grow even during a drought.
“Peanuts is one of those crops where the weather is managed by the producer,” he said.
Kubicek said instead what has been helpful this year is the ‘kinder’ temperatures because it is hard to produce peanuts in the high summer heat.
“The peanut plant just won’t produce peanuts in triple digits,” he said.
According to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau website, peanuts are grown in the southwest and south central areas of the state and due to the arid climate, nearly two-thirds of the crops are irrigated.
Kubicek said although Pottawatomie County used to be the seventh largest county in the state to produce peanuts, there haven’t been any crops in the past several years because farmers choose to produce other crops that are more profitable, such as corn or soy beans, but said overall in Oklahoma, peanut production covers about 15,000 acres.
“It has great potential this year,” he said.
According to the OFB website, Oklahoma peanut producers grow between 50 and 70 million pounds of peanuts each year and the state ranks in the top two states in the production of Spanish peanuts.
The Oklahoma Peanut Commission was created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1965 and is composed of six peanut growers appointed by the governor. According to its website, the commission engages in various promotional activities to encourage the production and sale of peanuts and peanut products and participates in research to develop better production methods and new uses for peanuts.