By Jennifer Whitlock
Texas A&M AgriLife and Texas Peanut Producers will unveil a new precision peanut sheller later this month at AgriLife’s Research and Extension Center in Vernon.
The ton-per-hour huller is one of the first in the country designed specifically for seed production. It is also capable of processing identity preserved peanuts, which Dr. Rick Vierling, director of the Vernon Research and Extension Center says, will help the Texas peanut industry produce quality seed varieties and increase commercialization.
“Texas A&M AgriLife’s investment in the sheller is a commitment to Texas peanut producers, the peanut industry, food companies and consumers,” he said.
Batches as small as 250 pounds can be handled by the new machinery, and loss of split seeds will be reduced to less than 10%, thanks to its design.
There will also be a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate this innovative contribution to groundnut research and development. AgriLife Vice-Chancellor Dr Patrick Stover, National Peanut Board Chairman and CEO Bob Parker, Texas Peanut Producers Board Chairman Grayson Wilmeth, Dr John Cason, Senior Breeder of AgriLife Research, and Texas Peanut Producers Board Executive Director Shelly Nutt will speak that day.
“The Texas Peanut Producers Board has invested a lot of money in selecting peanuts suitable for Texas growing conditions, but we have had difficulty with our suckers due to contamination,” Nutt said. “Having a dehulling facility dedicated to preserving seed quality and integrity will solve the contamination problem we have experienced in the past. This will create a better environment for our peanut farmers to grow more and better varieties and for our hullers to sell seeds for planting that are not contaminated with multiple varieties and types of seeds.
Texas, the fourth largest peanut producer in the country, has the distinction of being the only state to grow all four varieties of peanuts, as well as organic peanuts.
Texas peanut growers planted 170,000 acres this year and 190,000 acres in 2020. Average yields last year were 2,800 pounds per acre.
Atascosa, Gaines and Yoakum counties are the main peanut producing counties in Lone Star State.
Peanuts are used for peanut candy, peanut butter, and peanut snacks, among other uses.