Attachment Offers On-the-Fly Peanut Cleaning
By Jan Suszkiw
September 19, 2001
Some peanut farmers find it
worthwhile, time and cost permitting, to rid their harvests of loose-shelled
kernels, undersized pods and other debris. Now, a new screening attachment for
peanut combines could simplify this marketing decision.
Thats the implication of results from
Agricultural Research Service studies
conducted during a five-year cooperative agreement with
Amadas Industries, Inc., that concluded
earlier this year. The Suffolk, Va., company and ARS scientists collaborated in
outfitting Amadas combines with a screen attachment to remove debris
In west Texas and North Carolina, some farmers now clean their harvests
using low- capacity screens that must be parked in the cropfield
and require a two- to three- person operating crew. Other farmers transport
their peanuts to cleaning facilities at commercial buying points, for a fee.
In the mid-1990s, two Grace, N.C., farmers--Leon Umphlett and his son
Robbie-- decided to save some of the time and cost of cleaning peanuts by
rigging their Amadas combines with screening attachments. After limited field
evaluations, Amadas and Paul Blankenships group at ARS
National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Ga.
sought to streamline the Umphlett design.
The result was a 10-foot-long cylindrical trommel comprising meshlike
material called hardware cloth that rests atop the combine. Driven by hydraulic
motors, it rotates on a slight incline to filter-out debris that clings to
peanut pods. Once cleaned, the pods empty into the combines basket.
On average, loose kernels, undersized pods and other debris account for
nearly 5 percent of a peanut lots total weight. But in 38 test runs with
either runner or Virginia-type peanuts on farms in five states, the
combine-mounted trommel reduced the lots' total debris weight to 2 to 3
percent. Studies from Blankenship's lab also suggest removing undersized or
damaged pods may cut the risk of a peanut lots contamination by
aflatoxin, a fungal carcinogen.
Amadas now markets the trommels as a combine accessory, and has sold 20 to
25 of them.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.