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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354414

Research Project: Postharvest Systems to Assess and Preserve Peanut Quality and Safety

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Title: Development course of peanut harvest mechanization technology of the United States and enlightenment to China

item GAO, LIANXING - Shenyang Agricultural University
item CHEN, ZHONGYU - Shenyang Agricultural University
item CHEN, CHARLES - Auburn University
item Butts, Christopher - Chris

Submitted to: Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2017
Publication Date: 7/1/2017
Citation: Gao, L., Chen, Z., Chen, C., Butts, C.L. 2017. Development course of peanut harvest mechanization technology of the United States and enlightenment to China. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering. 33(12):1-9. doi: 10.11975/j.issn.1002-6819.2017.12.001.

Interpretive Summary: Peanut is a very important crop for food and edible oil in the world with China producing approximately 40% of the world supply. The United States produces about 6% of the world peanut supply and accounts for approximately 16% of the export market. The United States production, harvesting, and processing makes it one of the most efficient producers of high quality peanuts in the world. A review of the processes shows that harvest mechanization is one of the reasons for the United States’ efficiency and ability to succeed in the export market. The successful development of harvest machinery and its widespread use in the United States has made it a model for other peanut producers. This manuscript describes the progression of harvest machinery since the 1960’s in the United States and its potential adaptation and use in China.

Technical Abstract: Peanut is a very important crop for food and edible oil in the world. China is the largest peanut producer in total annual production accounted for about 40.26% and the second-largest in peanut planting area accounted for about 16.68% in the world. China, India and Nigeria, United States, Argentina and Brazil all are major important peanut exporters in the world. In the United States, the peanut area planted only accounted for about 2.46%, but total annual peanut production accounted for about 6.11% and export peanut accounted for 16.03% in 2016, which make the United States become a leading country of peanut production and exportation nation in the word. Based on comprehensively analysis, the main reasons why a country becomes strongest peanut production nation is that high level harvest mechanization plays an important role for peanut production. Harvesting is a key part in peanut production, it accounts for more than 50 percent labor employment of the whole process. However, in the USA, the application of peanut harvest mechanization was implemented in 1950's that dramatically changed peanut harvesting practices. The peanut harvest mechanization mode has two stages in USA. Two pieces of equipment developed in the late 1940's contributed to the major changes in harvesting practices in the USA, those include a peanut shaker-windrower and peanut combine. A peanut shaker-windrower was further advanced to Digger-Shaker-Inverter in the early 1970's, which can turn the plants upside down and place two rows together in a windrow to cure. The second piece of equipment is a peanut combine that picks up the peanuts plants from the windrow after they are dried to a safe moisture level, picks off the pods, and deposits the cleaned pods into bulk tanks. After combining, the peanuts are placed in a curing facility where low humidity air is forced through the peanuts to evaporate the excess moisture. With the advances of peanut harvest mechanization technology, the United States has been leading its peanut production with high yield, high quality, high efficiency and more international market competitive advantages. Nevertheless, the initial harvest machinery in the United States ran into problem of dense, heavy peanut foliage that reduces separation efficiency for combine. With blades added into inverter for vine clipping and the varieties with reducing peanut foliage through breeding effort, the current harvest machinery is well adopted by peanut growers in the USA. However, compared to the USA, the adaptation rate of peanut harvest machinery in China is extremely low and the advance of peanut harvest machinery is far behind what we expected. In this paper, by systematic analysis on large number of literatures and documents, we reviewed the developing history of peanut harvest machinery in the USA and summarized the strategies that integrated machinery advantage into production practices through agronomic cultivation and breeding. The successful development experience of peanut harvest machinery in the USA will serve as a guideline for developing adoptable China's peanut harvest machines that are suitable for different cultivation practices, different peanut plants of botanical types, and different growing conditions such as soil types, growing seasons, and scales of peanut field.