Peanut production reportedly down 43 percent from 2017 in Texas

Peanut production reportedly down 43 percent from 2017 in Texas

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BROWNFIELD, Texas -

According to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension report, peanut production across the state of Texas decreased by 43 percent from last year. 

More specifically, from 275,000 planted acres to 155,000. 

"The wet weather and the cold weather the last two months has really put a damper on things," Mason Becker, a peanut farmer in West Texas, said.

Like cotton, peanuts need a wet planting season in the summer, and a dry harvest in the fall.

Shelly Nutt, with the Texas Peanut Producers Board said this poor weather timing is the key reason why production dropped nearly half from last year.

"Our farmers were really facing some challenges during that fall harvest just to get the peanuts out of the field before they lost their yields and before the quality started suffering," Nutt said.

Becker said the longer he waited to harvest, the more peanuts he lost, as a result.

"We left a lot in the field. With that cold weather, what ended up happening was a lot of the pegs that holds that peanut onto the plant that we pick up with the combine, those pegs start to weaken and deteriorate over time," Becker said.

Becker also grows cotton and wheat, but he said the summer drought forced his hand, since peanuts are a water-intensive crop.

"That affected some of our early decision making and in our county at least, we didn't have much of a cotton crop. In my case, I pushed a lot of my resources to my peanut crop and then we ended up with a wet and cold harvest season," Becker said.

In addition, Nutt said peanuts play a key role in the Lubbock economy.

"When the farm economy gets bad, you'll start seeing it all over Lubbock because the sales tax revenue just isn't what it is in those good years of agriculture because agriculture puts in so much money into this Lubbock economy," Nutt said.

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