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Texas peanut growers resist urge to cut costs

“We’re looking at some cost increases,” Phillips says, “but I can’t really cut back on field operations without losing yield. Reducing fertilizer, for example, will limit production,” he says.

“We budget for 4200 pounds of peanuts per acre. I fertilize to make that and we’re always at that level or a little better. We beat it last year.”

He says limiting water also is a false economy. “We use electric pumps except for one natural gas unit, so costs have not been as high as for some farmers. But we have to water peanuts to make a yield.”

At most,. Phillips will tweak variety selection a bit.

“I’ll stay mostly with Tamrun 96,” he says. “They produced well last year and held up in wet conditions.”

He’s also planted Georgia Greens in twin rows and says they mature sooner than Tamrun.

“I’m not certain about the twin rows for 2001,” he says. “I’ll probably plant some but may cut back a little because Iíll have more Tamrun 96 peanuts.”

He’s also looking at AT 201. “That’s a new variety that’s done well, but it has a big vine and will not perform in twin-row patterns.”

He’ll stay with a Sonolan and Dual weed control program. “Those two have taken care of most of my weed problems,” he says.

Bravo and Folicur do the same for diseases. “I stay on a strict spray schedule for disease control,” he says, “so I don’t have much pressure.”

He credits some control to rotation. “I stay on a three-year program with peanuts, corn or vegetables. I’ll cut back some on corn this year because I canít see much return from grain.”

He’ll add a few acres of cotton for the first time in years. “I don’t intend to plant cotton on my peanut land, though.”

Phllips heads into the 2001 planting season in better shape than he was at this time last year.

“We had to pre-water corn to get it up last year,” he says. “We will not have to do that this year. We’ve had ample moisture since fall. It’s plenty wet.”

He’d like to duplicate last year’s results, however. In spite of early drought and fall rains that kept him from harvesting as early as he would have liked, he still beat his 4200 pounds per acre benchmark.

“We had a hard time getting peanuts out of the field, but we didn’t get a freeze on them and the pods hung on. We had a good year.”

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