Clemson researchers, in collaboration with the National Peanut Lab, have developed a new tool to help farmers get a better idea of how grade affects the value of peanut crops.
The Clemson Peanut Loan Rate Calculator is a web-based application that allows farmers to enter ratings for Runner and Virginia type peanuts, and calculate loan values for a specific year and segregation level. Farmers using this app can also explore historical loan rates for the same inputs to use for comparison.
“Peanut growers who have ever tried to calculate peanut discounts, premiums and values for inspection sheets, know that these calculations can be overwhelming,” said Kendall Kirk, a precision farming engineer housed at the Edisto Research and Education Center (REC) in Blackville, which helped develop this app. “We’ve developed a web-based application that allows farmers to effortlessly perform these calculations from their smartphone or computer to perform unofficial what-if scenarios and convert the loan rate to dollars per acre.”
Nathan Smith, a professor at the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service and director of the agribusiness program team based at Sandhill REC in Colombia, said the calculator is important because peanut farmers are paid for their crops based on yield, as well than quality. Prices are set on the national base lending rate adjusted for premiums and discounts.
“Dr. Kirk and I talked about creating a loan calculator as an educational tool for farmers and researchers to use for their test results if they do their own ranking,” said Smith, who also helped develop the calculator “Farmers can use this calculator to see the differences in loan rates at different grades and levels of segregation.”
Peanuts are graded at the point of purchase according to standards established by the United States Department of Agriculture. Inspectors establish kernel content, pod size, kernel size, moisture content, damaged kernels and foreign matter. Inspection results determine the overall quality and value of each shipment.
Separation levels are used for quality control. Segregation I peanuts are edible. Segregation II charges include Peanuts that exceed minimum damage levels. Segregation III indicates that Aspergillus flavus was detected during the grading process. Aspergillus flavus is a mold capable of producing aflatoxin. Designation as Segregation II or III reduces the load value, said Dan Anco, peanut specialist at Clemson Extension.
“Peanuts designated as Segregation II or III are generally for the petroleum market,” Anco said.
The Peanut Loan Rate Calculator is one of many free web applications from Clemson Precision Agriculture. These apps can be accessed from just about any device with a web browser and can be found at https://bit.ly/CU_CalculatorsAndWebApps.
Peanut is a major crop in South Carolina. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that 85,000 acres of SC peanuts with a production value of more than $58 million were planted in 2020. The National Peanut Board reports that six states – Georgia, Florida , Alabama, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina – grow nearly all of the peanut crop in the United States. The Peanut Money-Maker Grower’s Guide, 2021 has more information about growing peanuts in South Carolina.
Denise Attaway reports in public service and agriculture at Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.