Peanut production in Oklahoma started in the 1930s and early 1940s. Initially, the need for oil during World War II encouraged the expansion of peanut production. In 1940, there were 82,000 acres of peanuts planted. The high mark for plantings came seven years later when Oklahoma farmers planted 325,000 acres of peanuts.
Planted acres have been reduced significantly since the 2002 Farm Bill, which eliminated the Quota Marketing system. In 2000, 97,000 acres of peanuts were planted in Oklahoma, but by 2010, that had declined to about 20,000. In the early years, 750 pounds of pods per acre was considered a good yield. Today, Oklahoma’s yield averages from 3,500 to 4000 pounds per acre. The peanut crop produced each year is typically extremely good quality. Most of Oklahoma’s peanut crop is irrigated which contributes significantly to improved yields and quality.
Worldwide, more than 40 million acres of peanuts are planted each year. Of this amount, the U.S. plants less than two million acres, making the U.S. acreage less than 5 percent of the world’s peanut plantings. However, while world yields are only around 800 to 900 pounds per acre, U.S. yields average from 3500 to 4000 pounds per acre.
Oklahoma Peanut Commission