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close this bookBetter Farming Series 17 - Groundnuts (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)
close this folderHarvesting
View the documentWhen to harvest
View the documentHow to harvest
View the documentWhat to do after harvesting
View the documentStoring

When to harvest

44. Groundnuts are ready for harvesting when the stems begin to wilt, and the leaves turn yellow and drop.

But if the rains stop too soon, the plants begin to wilt before the groundnuts are ripe.

To know whether the groundnuts are ready for harvesting, open a few pods.

The nuts are ripe when the inside of the shell is brown.

45. Do not harvest too late.

If you harvest too late:

- The plants are too dry, the leaves dropthis makes them less good as food for animals.

- The soil gets very hardthis makes it difficult to lift the pods, and you will leave many pods in the ground.

- The early varieties may germinate then the nuts are not good to eat.

46. Do not harvest too early.

If you harvest too early:

- There will be too much water In the groundnuts; They may rot;

It is difficult to keep them for a long time; They will yield less oil;

They are less good as a food;

They are bad as seeds, because they are not ripe.

- The pods will be full of water too;

This makes them heavy, and the shelling yield will be low.

What is the shelling yield?

To shell means to separate the nuts from the shell. If you shell 100 kilogrammes of pods, you should get between 68 and 75 kilogrammes of groundnuts. This means that the shelling yield is between 68 and 76 percent.

When the pods are full of water, they are heavy, and so 100 kilogrammes of pods will yield fewer kilogrammes of nuts.

Before harvesting you must wait until there is less water in the pods.

How to harvest

47. You can lift the pods by hand. But this takes a long time.

The soil gets hard before you have finished harvesting It is quicker to use an animal- drawn lifting plough.

With a lifting plough you can lift a lot of groundnuts quickly and fewer will be left in the ground.

Lifting plough

What to do after harvesting

48. When the groundout plants are out of the ground

- Turn them over.

If the sun is strong, leave the plants turned over only for 4 to 6 hours; if the sun is not very strong, you can leave them turned over for a day or two.

In all cases make little heaps afterwards, so that the groundnuts go on drying slowly.

When the groundnuts are quite dry

- Put the groundnut plants on a wooden hay rack, so that the plants do not touch the ground.

An Important warning

Do not leave the groundnuts on the field in full sun for several days after lifting them. The plants would dry out too quickly and the leaves would drop.

Do not put the groundnuts in a heap if they are still green, or if they are wet from rain.

Do not leave the groundnuts in heaps after heavy rain the stems and leaves may rot.

Hay rack

Hay rack with groundnut plants set to dry

How to heap groundnuts


49. You will sell part of your crop. But you also will keep some of it, to feed your family and to have seeds for the following year.

Before putting the groundnuts Into your team, clean the team very wall. Like that you will remove any insects, grubs and dirt left over from the last crop. Finally disinfect your barn.
Do not shell the groundnuts. The shells protect the nuts against insects.