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Peanut farmers going 'green'

Agriculture.com Staff Updated: 07/12/2010 @ 4:11pm

U.S. peanut farmers are adapting more environmentally-favorable crop production practices, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Resource Management Survey.

According to the latest survey data available (2004), USA peanut farmers reduced their pesticide usage by 13% versus five years earlier. In addition, significantly less fertilizer is applied to peanuts than corn and cotton, according to the USDA Survey. The survey reported that U.S. farmers applied 96.1% less nitrogen to peanuts than corn (15.9 lbs/acre vs 152.0 lbs/acre) and 93% less than cotton (96.1 lbs/acre) in 2004.

USA farmers also applied 58.8% less phosphorus to peanuts than corn (44.1 lbs/acre vs 71.3 lbs/acre) and 48.1% less than cotton (55.8 lbs/acre), the survey showed. USA farmers also applied 53.6% less potassium to peanuts than corn (64.2 lbs/acre vs 102.0 lbs/acre) and 49.6% less than cotton (89.9 lbs/acre), according to the USDA survey.

USA peanut farmers are increasingly adopting conservation tillage practices, according to the USDA Survey which showed that 14.7% of the crop was produced in conservation/reduced tillage systems in 2004, up 3.7 fold from 5 years earlier. Today the percentage of the USA peanut crop produced in conservation/reduced tillage systems is estimated at 30%, according to Marshall Lamb, Lead Researcher, USDA/Agricultural Research Service/National Peanut Research Laboratory. The benefits of this trend are increased soil carbon sequestration, thus reducing carbon emissions, and increased water holding capacity in soils thereby reducing irrigation requirements.

"USA peanut farmers are responsible stewards of our land," says National Peanut Board chairman and Virginia peanut farmer Jeffrey Pope in a National Peanut Board report. "We know that is in our best interest, as well as the best interest of our customers, our communities, and our planet."

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