GROUNDNUT PRODUCTION IN PAKISTAN
Groundnut is an important cash crop in barani areas of upper Punjab and parts of NWFP. In Sindh, it is grown under irrigated conditions. About 84 % of the total groundnut area lies in Punjab, 13% in NWFP and 3 % in Sindh. During 1998-99, the total area under groundnut was 97,500 hectares with the production of 104,000 tons and average yield of 1067kg/ha.
The sub-soil as well as surface soil play an important role in obtaining higher yield and the quality of groundnut. A well drained, coarse textured and sandy loam soil is suitable for groundnut production. Pods produced on these soils will be clean and bright as desirable market trait. Soil which contains an appreciable amount of clay may result in crust formation and the pegs may not be able to penetrate into the soil for fruiting, moreover, it is very difficult to harvest groundnut grown on such type of soils. Sandy loam soils are generally low in fertility, therefore, balanced doses of fertilizer and their timely application is very important.
The primary tillage operations should be performed at least one month before planting. For March-April planting, deep tillage with mouldboard plough upto the depth of 25-30 cm is recommended in early to mid February. This operation open the soil and preseves soil moisture by recharging from subsequent rains. Mouldboard plough should be followed by a disc/harrow to level and pack the soil. A well prepared seedbed results in good germination and healthy seedlings, thus the proper plant stand is maintained.
a. Organic Fertilizer
The soils in barani areas are generally deficient in several nutrients. This deficiency can be corrected by the addition of proper dose of organic fertilizers. Organic manure is important primarily as humus that are decomposed by soil organisms to provide them nutrient and energy. Farm yard manure is mainly used as an organic manure. It should be applied about one month before sowing and incorporated properly in the soil.
b. Chemical Fertilizer
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three major nutrients required for this crop. An ideal rate is 20 kg N, 80 kg P2O5 and 60 kg K/ hectare. If soil is more sandy or intensively cropped, 100-kg K/ha is recommended. These rates may be obtained by using a mixture of Single Super Phosphate (SSP) and Urea or Ammonium Sulphate or with Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP). Micro nutrient deficiencies iron, zinc and boron are the most oftenly observed deficiencies. Appropriate use of these nutrients in the form of spray or soil application could alleviate the symptoms.
c. Gypsum Application
Gypsum plays an important role for higher production per unit area. Application of gypsum @ 400-500 Kg/ha just at beginning time of monsoon season (crop planted in March-April), when flowers produce viable pegs and at flowering time of the late planted crop gives good results. In more sandy soils higher rates of gypsum are required due to increased leaching.
Two types of groundnut vaieties, spreading (runner) and erect or bunchy types are widely grown in Pakistan. List of suitable promising varieties, their yield potential and maturity duration is given in the following Table.
Suitable Groundnut Varieties, their yield potential and maturity duration
Variety Suitable Area Yield Potential Maturity Duration (Kg/ha) (days)
BARD-699 (Semi-bunch) > 500 mm precipitation 3500 160-170
BARD-479 (Semi-spreading) All areas 4000 180-190
BARD-92 (Bunch) Rainfed areas 2500 120-130
Late planting after wheat
Chakori (Bunch) < 500 mm Precipitation 3600 170-180
BARI-89 (Spreading) < 500 mm Precipitation 4000 180-190
Swat Phali (Bunch) Swat & Malakand agency 3800 170-180
Seed selected for planting should be bold, uniform well matured and disease free. Pods should be shelled a few days before planting and treated with proper fungicide. Early shelling may result in the deterioration and loss of viability and vigour. To get optimum plant densities, recommended seed rate for different types of groundnut is as follows:
Spreading and semi spreading types: 75 –80 kg / ha (167,000 plants)
Bunch and semi bunch types: 95-100 kg / ha (220,000 plants).
Groundnut is a highly efficient legume crop. It begins to supply its own nitrogen after 30-40 days from planting if the correct soil bacterial are present. It is essential to inoculate the seed immediately before planting with efficient rhizobium strain to obtain higher yield.
Groundnut can be grown successfully in the areas where 250-300 mm well distributed rain is received during the growing period of April to September. .Mostly groundnut in Pakistan is planted in fallow lands from early March to end April, in conserve soil moisture received during winter rain. It can also be planted in May and June after wheat harvest if adequate moisture is available. But the crop doses not mature properly and yield decreases considerably. The optimum planting time in Punjab (Pothwar area) is April. Under irrigated conditions, it is planted in early March and harvested in August. In Sindh, the best planting time reported is May. Short duration varieties maturing in 120-130 days can be planted at the onset of monsoon in late June or early July.
Groundnut is usually planted 4-6 inches deep on light soils and 2-4 inches on heavier soils. For cultural operation ( hoeing, spraying, weeding) and mechanical digging, it should be planted in straight lines. BARD precision planter has been developed and successfully demonstrated in farmers fields for planting different types of groundnut at various plant densities. Other planting methods for line planting include kerra and pora or dropping seeds through (naali) funnels behind tractor drawn cultivator or through funnels on desi plough.
Plant and Row Spacing
Based on previous research findings, the general recommendation for groundnut in Pakistan is to plant bunch, semi bunch varieties with 45 cm row spacing and 10 cm plant to plant spacing, which results in a plant density of 220,000 plants / ha. On sandy soils (in low rainfall zones) plant to plant spacing should be increased to 15cm resulting in a plant density of 1,48,000 plants/ha. Spreading and semi spreading type varieties should be planted with 60 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants, resulting in a plant density of 167,000 plants / ha, whereas, in sandy soils or medium to low rainfall zones, plant spacing within rows should be 15 cm to achieve a population of 111,000 plants/ha.
For planting groundnut under irrigated conditions, a rouni is needed for seedbed preparation. First irrigation three/four weeks of sowing second irrigation at flowering ,third irrigation at peg formation, fourth at pod development and fifth about one month before digging, should be applied if required.
a. Cultural Control: Weeding with khurpa, kasola or rotary hoe and cultivator with small sweeps ( tractor drawn) in the direction of rows may be completed when it is required.These operations perations should be completed before peg formation so that the young pegs entering into the soil may not be demaged. The first weeding can be done about four to five weeks after planting and the second weeding before peg formation.
b. Chemical Control: Herbicide can be an effective weed management tool for groundnut in Pakistan, if applied properly at proper time. Fusilade (Fluazifop P-Butyl) a selective (post-emergence herbicide) for grassy weeds and Johnson grass in groundnut growing areas has been successful @ 1-2 liter/ ha, but has not yet been registered in Pakistan.
Insects, diseases and vertebrate pests and their control
Termites, are controlled by the application of Furadan granules (3 G or 10 g) mixed with fertilizer at planting.
Aphids can be controlled by spraying dimecron, Thiodon 100% @ 1 litre/ha mixed with 50 gallons of water. :
Red hairy Caterpillar (Amsacta albistriga Wlk) the is most abundant insect in groundnut growing areas of Pothwar (Punjab) and Swabi (NWFP). Spray of systemic insecticides such as dimecron 100 % @ 1 kg / ha, Buldock and Karate @ 250 g / ha should be done.
Diseases have the least impact on groundnut production in Pakistan. However, early leaf spot (Cercospora arachidicola) and late leaf spot (Phaeoisariopsis personata) is prevalent and common disease in Pakistan. By the attack of this disease some times complete defoliation of leaves may cause significant yield reduction. This diseases can be controlled (chemically) by one or two strategically timed applications of fungicides such as Chlorothalonil (Daconil) and Dithane M-45 (2 %).
Wilt ( Fuzarium sps.) and root rot (Sclerotium rolfsii) ( minor disesses) are controlled by using different crop rotations.
Viral diseases (Peanut Bud Nacrosis and Peanut Clump Virus) have also been observed from groundnut growing areas. Some seed born fungal diseases also attack the seedlings before emergence. It is therefore recommended that the seed should be treated with a proper fungicide before sowing.
The second largest yield reduction associated with groundnut pests in Pakistan is caused by infestation of a variety of vertebrate pests i.e. rodents, wild boars, porcupine, desert hares and crows.
Among the animals damaging the groundnut crop, rates are serious pests which cause sometimes as high as 60-70 percent. Two types of chemicals available to control the rodents are zinc phosphide and Racumin. Baiting must be done regularly over a period of 4-5 days until crop is mature to ensure good control. These baits are also available with vertebrate pest control laboratory at NARC. Burrows can be fumigated, using Dietia capsules or Phostoxin/Agtoxin tablets which are readily available in the market.
This animal roots out groundnut plants, generally scooping out a depression from 5-10 cm deep. Mostly, plant roots are exposed and plants are withered around. They can be controlled by physical methods i.e. Shooting, trapping and chasing etc. Special campaign is required to control this animal. Chemical control is more effective and viable than physical measures. Baits made from Sodium Monofluoroacetate or Zinc phosphide with crushed wheat and maize grains and brown sugar can be used. Before using the baits, unpoisoned baits are laid out for two -four days for feeding the animals. When wild boars start feeding unpoisoned baits, poison mixed baits should be placed for rebait.
The Indian-crested porcupine recognized with black and white quills is also a serious pest of this crop which damage the plants by clawing the groundnut roots. Fresh burrows should be located by observing feet tracks, and shed quills. There are two methods to control these animals, i.e., fumigation and baiting. For baiting Sodium Monoflouroactate (1080) can be smeared on cut potatoes or apples and placed deep in burrows. Racumin bait by mixing of 1:19 ratio of racumin and wheat flour with gur or brown sugar can be used. For fumigation, 6-8 Phostoxin or agtoxin tablets should be placed deep into the burrow and the den is sealed firmly with vegetation and soil.
Equipments and Machinery
Costs of groundnut harvesting and lack of suitable equipment to mechanize the process is one of the major constraints to expansion of groundnut acreage in Pakistan. In collaboration with Farm Machinery Institute and local manufacturers, BARD Programme has developed efficient and inexpensive equipments suitable for use by the farmers in Pakistan. A complete set of groundnut machinery (i.e. groundnut planter, inter-row cultivator, groundnut digger, batch type thresher, PTO thresher, electric sheller and hand sheller) is currently available from private manufacturers in Pakistan. Efficiency of each machine along with the manufacturer’s name is given in the table.
Groundnut Production Equipments Available In Pakistan
Item Speed/output Manufacturer
BARD Precision Planter 0.6 ha/hour Rachna Industries, Faisalabad
Inter-row Cultivator 0.4 ha/hour Imran Engineering, Dhudial
Groundnut Digger 0.4 ha/hour Imran and Awan Engineering, Dhudial
Digger/Shaker/Invertor 0.4 ha/hour Al-Younus Agro-Industries, Rawalpindi
Batch Thresher 250-350 (kg/hour) Mughal Farm Machinery, Daska
PTO Thresher 300-400 (kg/hour) Zaib Engineering, Takhtbai NWFP,
Al-Younis Agro, Industry Rawalpindi
Electric Sheller 160 kg/hour Mughal Farm Machinery, Daska
Electric Sheller/Grader 140 kg/hour Al-Younus Agro-Industries, Rawalpindi
Timely harvesting of groundnut is an important factor for getting higher yields like other crops. Early digging results in lower maturity and lower yield. Late digging results in more leftover losses in the soil and high digging cost due to dry and hard soil. The optimum time of groundnut digging is determined by digging a few plants from the field and counting the mature pods. Digging should be stared when 70-75 percent pods are mature. Crop should be properly digged out with hand tools such as Khurpa, kasola, Spade, and pods are picked up from the soil as much as possible. A tractor mounted digger is available and could be used for digging.
Once groundnut is dug and collected pods must be separated from vines by hand or beaten and winnowed. This whole process is expensive, time consuming and labour intensive. Profit from groundnut production can be enhanced by mechanizing this process and reducing the cost of production. For this purpose, a PTO driven FMI thresher, commercially available with local manufacturers, can be used.
Drying and Curing
After digging, the produce is cured by sun drying for about 6-8 days to maintain the desirable flavour and quality. At the time of digging, pods contain about 40-50 % moisture which should be reduced to 8-10 % by curing for safe storage. Well dried cleaned pods should be properly stored. Excessive humidity in the store favours the fungus growth on the pods which can damage the seed.