Groundnut production can hold many benefits for smallholder farmers, especially when included in a crop rotation programme. These benefits include enhancing the nitrogen content of the soil.
Groundnuts do best in warm regions, where the minimum air temperature does not fall below 15°C during the growing season. The optimal air temperature for production of the crop is between 24°C and 32°C. Dryland production requires an annual rainfall of between 450mm and 600mm for a good yield. Any type of irrigation will benefit the crop.
Groundnuts grow best in sandy soil with less than 15% clay. The best time to plant is from early November to no later than 25 November. Planting after this will result in a significant drop in yield, as the growing season will be too short for the plants to mature properly.
Prepare the land, and particularly the seedbed, thoroughly, ploughing or digging the soil and removing weeds. No plant residue should be left on the ground, as this can harbour diseases that may cause the crop to fail. The seedbed should be fine and level to ensure even germination as well as even maturing of the crop.
Use certified groundnut seed; its germination has been evaluated and its quality can be relied on.
Before planting, coat the seed with tetramethylenedisulphotetramine (TMDT) or a similar compound, taking great care to follow the instructions on the label. This treatment will ensure that the seed do not rot when attacked by fungi in the soil.
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