During a stop at Glenn Heard Farms in Brinson, Georgia, Georgia Peanut Tour attendees had the opportunity to see first-hand the process of harvesting peanuts. Heard is a third-generation farmer who grows wheat, milo, corn, cotton, peanuts, sweet corn, and carrots. Located in Seminole and Decatur Counties, Heard farms right in the heart of peanut country.
Peanut harvesting is a multi-step process. Digging, which is first, is the process of removing the peanut from the ground, shaking off any excess soil, rotating the plant, and then leaving the plant in rows, allowing the peanut to release moisture before being picked from the vine once dry. Farmers must monitor the maturity of the peanut crop before commencing the important task of digging. If removed from the ground too early, the peanuts will not reach the necessary maturity to meet accepted standards for grading. To reach maturity, the peanut growing period is 140-150 days following planting.
After a few days left to dry, peanuts are ready to be picked. Peanuts are picked with a combine. The combine separates the peanuts form the vine, placing the peanuts in a hopper on the top of the machine and depositing the vines back into the field.