GROUNDNUT (Arachis hypogea)
Groundnut is a dual-purpose crop. It can be cultivated as an oil crop as well as a protein or a pulse or leguminous crop. Although it is a leguminous crop, it is mainly grown for its oil.
The seed called nut contains about 40 – 55% oil, 30% protein and 18% carbohydrate. Industrial products of groundnut include:
- Groundnut cake.
- Groundnut oil.
- Groundnut butter.
The land is cleared, stumping is done and land can also be prepared mechanically by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.
Bunch or erect type, creeping type, Kano local, Kano 50 and castle cary.
Groundnut requires a temperature of 25°C 30°C, rainfall of 70 – 100cm per annum.
Groundnut requires a coarse texture sandy – loamy soil, which is slightly acidic to neutral, that is, pH range of 5-7. The soil should be rich in calcium and phosphorus which are needed for pod formation.
Method of propagation: This is by seeds.
Planting Dates: March – April in the South and May/June in the North.
Seedrate: 30 – 35kg/ha or two to three seeds/hole.
- 40-60cm x 20cm for the creeping type.
- 60cm x 15cm for the bunch type.
Planting: Groundnut is planted by seeds. It can be planted solely or may be inter-cropped. It is planted between March and April in the South and May and June in the North. Two to three seeds are planted per hole which should be 4cm deep. Spacing is 40-60 x 20cm.
- Regular weeding should be done with hoe before flowering. This should be stopped immediately when the flowers appear. It enables the pods to get into the soil properly.
- The stem of groundnut may be pressed down during flowering for better fruiting.
- Control pests and diseases attack.
- Groundnut does not require fertilizers except on poor soil.
Maturity Period: It matures between four to six months.
Harvesting: Harvesting is done when the lower leaves turn brown and begins to fall. Harvesting is done by using native hoes or by pulling the plants up by hand. The nuts are then picked from the plant root and stem. Harvest 120 – 150 days after planting, depending on the variety. Harvesting can be done manually or mechanically by uprooting the plant and allowing them to dry for easy removal of pods.
Processing and storage: Harvested nuts are dried properly. The seeds are removed from the shells by pounding them slightly in mortars or by beating them with sticks. Small shelling or decorticating machine can also be used to remove the seeds from the pod.
Storage: Dried groundnuts can be stored in clean rhumbus or silos. The unshelled pods are stored in sacks while the shelled nuts are stored in bags. The shelled nuts are treated with insecticides before storage.
Pests of Groundnut
1) Rodents: These include rats which dig up and eat sown seeds.
- Fencing and trapping should be done.
2) Groundnut Beetle: This attacks the nuts during storage.
- Fumigation with phostoxin tablets should be done. Other pests include aphids, caterpillar and grasshopper, bruchid or weevil or floor beetle.
Diseases of groundnut
1) Groundnut rosette disease: It is caused by a virus which is transmitted by aphid and other piercing and sucking insects.
Symptoms: Symptoms include green leaves which become yellow with mosaic form of mottling. The plant becomes stunted and finally withers and dies.
- Plant healthy seeds.
- Uproot and burn infected plants.
- Spray to kill the vector (aphids) with insecticide.
2) Tikka Disease: It is caused by a fungus (Cercospora personata), which can be spread by air or wind.
Symptoms: Symptoms include yellowing of leaves with dark brown spots on the under surface. Falling of the leaves soon will set in.
- Early planting.
- Practise crop rotation.
- Use resistant varieties.
- Maintain farm sanitation.
3) Aspergillosis: It is caused by a fungus (Aspertilles Havus) which makes the seed become mouldy. Spores are transmitted through the soil. Pods become toxic because of the presence of aflatoxins which are poisonous. The hypocotlyl of the geminating seeds will die.
- Plant mould- free seeds.
- Treat seeds with fungicides.