Arkansas Growers Hit Record Acreage In Peanuts

   Peanuts continued to grow in popularity with Arkansas farmers in 2016, as early estimates put the state’s planted acreage at about 22,500 acres, a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture expert said this week.
   The acreage beats the state’s previous record of about 18,500 acres planted in 2012.
   Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist and de facto peanut agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said Arkansas growers were also growing an additional 4,000 acres of peanuts on land north of the Arkansas-Missouri border.
   “It looks like we’re going to have more peanuts in Arkansas this year than we’ve ever had,” Faske said. 
   Faske said that although the profit margin for peanut producers was slimmer than in previous years, they served as a valuable rotation crop key to long-term sustainable farming. 
   Arkansas weather, overall, has been great for the planting phase of peanuts, Faske said, with some growers starting as early as April 8. As of May 22, Arkansas growers had planted about 91 percent of their planned peanut acreage, a massive increase over the same point in 2015, when growers reported having planted only 19 percent of their planned peanut acreage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 
   Arkansas was named a “major peanut producing state” by the National Peanut Board for the first time in 2014. Although overall peanut acreage in the state has reached a new high, it is unlikely to affect the global or even national peanut market, where states such as Georgia reported planting approximately 730,000 acres of peanuts this year, according to the USDA. ∆
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