Suitable soil for Groundnut farming: – Groundnut is perfectly grown in a well-drained sandy loam, or sandy clay loam soil. Deep well-drained soils with a ph of 6.5-7.0 and high fertility are ideal for groundnut. An optimum soil temperature for good germination of groundnut is 30°C. Low temperature at sowing delays germination and increases seed and seedling diseases. Soil test must be done before starting groundnut farming.
Crop rotation in Groundnut farming: – A crop rotation is very important in groundnut farming; this helps in efficient nutrient utilization and reduces soil borne diseases and nematodes. It also helps to reduce the incidence of weeds. Maize, sorghum, pearl millet or small grain crop can be grown following groundnut. To reduce the incidence of soil borne diseases it is recommended not to grow groundnut after groundnut, or tobacco, or cotton.
Application of Manures and fertilizers in Groundnut farming: – In groundnut farming, a balanced fertilizer application, based on soil tests, should provide adequate levels of especially phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulphur, and magnesium. Nutrient availability depends on ph, organic, matter content, and rate of release of nutrients from the soil minerals. The availability of other essential ions such as copper, boron, iron, manganese, and nitrogen may be low in alkaline soils (ph>8.5); while an acid soil (ph <6) may be deficient in molybdenum, manganese, sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. Therefore, depending on soil nutrient status and targeted yields.
Manure application in ground farming: In Groundnut farming, application of 10-12 t ha-1 of chicken manure of 20 t ha-1 of well decomposed farm yard manure should be used and completed at least 1 month before sowing. This should be mixed into the soil for good plant development and to improve the soil structure.
Fertilizers Application in Groundnut Farming: – The main fertilizer components in Groundnut farming are Nitrogen, Phosphors, Potassium, Calcium, Sulphur, Iron, Zinc. Deficiencies of boron, copper, molybdenum, manganese and manganese and magnesium can be corrected by soil application of these nutrients when symptoms appear, depending on soil type and agro climatic conditions.
Sowing preparation in groundnut farming:
Plot design: – When testing for yield and quantitative character, treatments are to be randomized and arranged in the plots in blocks. The plot size is four rows of 4m length, with 30 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants.
Seed and layout Preparation in Groundnut farming:
- Initial steps: The experimental field maps indication the randomization of treatments, blocks, direction of rows, and number of rows, row width, row length, and alley width are prepared. Next, the seed and fertilizer packets for each row are prepared.
- Selection of seed: Bold and well-filled pods are selected for shelling about one week before sowing. The viability of the kernels may deteriorate after being shelled and stored for a long time and are more subject to storage pest damage. The plant produced from bold kernels were found to be superior to those from correspondingly smaller kernels in their rate of emergence, number of successful seedlings, number of primary branches and leaves, and dry mass of roots, shoots, total dry matter, and pod yield.
- Seed treatment: To control pathogens causing seed and seedling diseases, it is necessary to coat the seed before sowing with either Thiram® (a.i. 5 0 % @ 3 g kg – 1 seed) or Bavistin® (a.i. 5 0 % @ 2 g kg’ 1 seed). Seed may be inoculated at the time of sowing by field inoculation to ensure good nodulation where a soil has been found to contain few rhizobia.
- Seed rate and spacing: The seed rate depends on the variety (Spanish, Valencia, or Virginia), runner or bunch type, the seed mass, and germination rate of the seed-lot. The recommend population is 250 000 plants ha-1 (one plant per 40 X 10 cm).
- Seed packets: – When sowing by hand is done the calculated amount of seed for each row is separately pocketed and the packets for each plot are temporarily fastened together. In case of machine sowing, seed packets are arranged by groups of rows for continuous sowing.
Sowing in Groundnut farming:
- Groundnut sowing during the rainy season start with the onset of the rains, usually by the 3rd week of June.
- Examine the soil before sowing for optimum moisture content after rainfall or give a presuming irrigation to make sure good germination.
- At the time of sowing, place the seed at 5-6 cm depth in the soil. Compact the soil around the seed to ensure there is firm contact with soil moisture for rapid and uniform germination. Use of a seed drill with packing wheels is useful to ensure uniform germination.
- When sowing manually, make sure that plots in each block is completed by the same person to reduce within-block variation due to uneven sowing caused by human differences.
Irrigation in Groundnut farming:
- Groundnut yields will be reduced if the upper soil zone becomes dry from flowering through pod development. A water deficit may lead to the following consequences.
- Reduction in the dry matter production of vegetative components as well as the crop growth rate. Fewer and smaller leaves with small compact cells and shorter stems. Water deficit from sowing to 67 days delays the period of rapid fruit growth by 10 days and decreases yield.
- Water deficit during the flowering and pegging stages results in higher yield losses than tress at any other growth stage; this deficit reduces the number of flowers plant-1.
- Water deficit in the soil surface during peg formation and pod development reduces pod number and pod yield.
- Water deficit in the fruiting zone results in unfilled pods and less calcium concentration in the hull and seed.
- Water deficit reduces groundnut quality, shelling percentage or percentage of sound mature seeds, seed mass, and germination of seed.
The aim of irrigation is to prevent soil water deficit and to supply the crops upper rooting zone with sufficient moisture without water logging the root zone.
- Adequate available water in the upper 60 cm layer of soil is important for high yield and good quality groundnut seeds. Mot soil what at field capacity will hold about 3.1 cm of depth. The highest groundnut yields are observed when available soil moisture is kept above 50% of field capacity. Therefore, sprinkler irrigation is recommended when the moisture has been depleted to 50% of field capacity in the top 60 cm. During peak water-use periods (0.6-0.7 cm day-1) the field may require 3.0-3.2 cm of water every 5 days. Irrigation intervals can be prolonged for 7-10 days during periods of low daily water requirements.
- An optimum water management scheme is to schedule sprinkler irrigation to maintain a less than 50 % SWD (soil water depletion) level in the top 30 cm of soil during early growth stages. Imposing a moderate water deficit during pre-flowering phase followed by irrigation can increase pod yields by 18-20%. However, irrigation should be made at 25% SWD during the pod-formation and seed-development stages. If the soil water potential is measured, irrigation should be maintained the soil water potential above -0.6 bars. When long, dry, hot, periods occur at the sensitive growth stage, such as pegging, pod formation, and early pod filling, sprinkler irrigation are necessary to maintain the soil water potential above -0.25 to -0.50 bars. This means that the upper 30cm of soil should appear and feel moist and the plants should not wilt from lack of moisture during the afternoon.
Weed control in Groundnut farming:
Weeds cause much damage to the groundnut crop during the first 45 days of its growth. The most critical period of weed competition is from 3-6 weeks after sowing. The average yield loss by weeds may be 60 %. Therefore, it is advantageous to mechanically and chemically control weeds during the initial 6 weeks of groundnut growth.
Harvesting in Groundnut farming: – Premature harvesting of groundnut pods lowers the yield, oil percent age, and quality of seeds. Delay in harvesting after Physiological maturity can result in increased Aspergillum flavor infection, and aflatoxin contamination in pods/seeds, and many pods may be left in the soil due to weakening of pegs. The Spanish bunch varieties (non dormant types) start germinating if harvesting is delayed. Therefore, it is important to harvest at optimum maturity.
There are three ways of harvesting in groundnut farming:
- Apply sprinkler irrigation for an hour manually pulls the plants.
- Provide a light surface irrigation 2-3 days before harvest and use a blade harrow that cuts the plant roots 12-15 cm below the soil surface. Then manually pull the plants.
- When irrigation water is scare, use a plow or tractor-driven digger to loosen the soil. Then manually remove the plants.
Note: – Harvested plants should be stacked in the field for a few days for air and sun drying (on bright sunny days) before stripping the pods. Thereafter, pods are continuously dried to reach a moisture content of 6-6% to avoid the development of aflatoxin caused by yellow mold (Aspergillus flavus). On cloudy days, pods should be removed and immediately placed in an air drier at 27-38° C for 2 days or until the pods dry to a constant mass (6-8 % moisture).
Storage of Groundnut: Ager cleaning and grading, store the dry pods in gunny bags and stack them up to 10 bags high in separated stacks so that air freely circulates among them. The bags should be pilled on wooden planks to avoid damage from dampness. Dusting the bags with 5% Lindane® will protect the pods from many storage pests.
Marketing of Groundnut: – Marketing is easy where you can sell to local Groundnut mills or Agents of Government Markets.