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Ground nut Package of Practices


GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN: Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.)is believed to be the native of Brazil to Peru, Argentina and Ghana, from where it was introduced into Jamaica, Cuba and other West Indies islands. The plant was introduced by Portuguese into Africa from where it was introduced into North America. It was introduced into India during the first half of the sixteenth century from one of the Pacific islands of China, where it was introduced earlier from either Central America or South America.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: The oil content of the seed varies from 44 to 50 per cent, depending on the varieties and agronomic conditions. Groundnut oil is edible oil. It finds extensive use as a cooking medium both as refined oil and Vanaspati Ghee. It is also used in soap making, and manufactoring cosmectics and lubricants, olein stearin and their salts. Kernels are also eaten raw, roasted or sweetened. They are rich in protein and vitamins A, B and some members of B2 group. Their calorific value is 349 per 100 grammes. The H.P.S. type of groundnut kernels is exported to foreign contries. The residual oilcake contains 7 to 8 per cent of N, 1.5 per cent of P 2O5 and 1.2 per cent of K2O and is used as a fertilizer. It is an important protein suppliment in cattle and poultry rations. It is also consumed as confectionary product. The cake can be used for manufacturing artificial fibre. The haulms (plant stalks) are fed ( green, dried or silaged) to livestock. Groundnut shell is used as fuel for manufacturing coarse boards, corksubstitutes etc. Groundnut is also of value as rotation crop. Being a legume with root nodules, it can synthesise atmospheric nitrogen and therefore improve soil fertility.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION: Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is a member of sub-family, Papilionaceae of the family Leguminosae. Arachis hypogaea L. consists of two subspecies each containing two botanical varieties.

Subspecies hypogaea

  • variety hypogaea (The Virginia Group)
  • variety hirsuta Kohlar

Subspecies fastigiata Waldron

  • variety fastigiata ( the Valencia Group)
  • variety vulgaris (the Spanish Group)

Plants of the botanical variety hypogaea are spreading (runner) to upright (erect bunch) in growth habit, have alternate branching, lack inflorescences on the main stem, possess appreciable fresh seed dormancy, flowers are longer and mature later than those of subspecies fasligiata. Variety hirsuta has been used only to a little extent.

Plants of this subspecies fasligiata are upright, have sequential branching and inflorescences in the main-stem leaf axils, possess little fresh seed dormancy, and are of shorter duration than those of the subspecies hypogaea. Subspecies fasligiata includes both the Spanish and Valencia types

Groundnut, in general, has a short-statured plant, with the main axis being upright (15 to 40 cm long) but the major part of the plant consists of the primary branches. Secondary and tertiary branches are found in the semi-spreading and spreading (Virginia) types, giving them a prostrate stature. The leaves are alternate, stipulate and quadri-foliate. The flowers are orange yellow, typically papilionaceous, with a long calyx tube within which is held the style borne on a superior ovary. The calyx and corolla lobes are borne in the axils of the leaves on the fruiting branches. They are bisexual, Zygomorphic, complete and sessile. Petals are five, with one large standard, two wings and two fused keel petals. There are two steering and eight fertile anthers, four of which are globose and four oblonge (dimorphic).

Groundnut is predominantly a self-pollinated crop and pollination takes place early in the morning. As soon as the fertilization is complete, the flowers fade. After fertilization, an intercalary meristem becomes active at the base of the ovary above the point of attachment of the hypanthium, producing new tissue below itself and resulting in an elongated stalk in the peg. The pegs are positively geotropic, enter the soil and bend in a horizontal plane. Generally two, and occassionally one, three or four, fertilized ovules are borne at the tip of the peg which later swells to become the pod. The testa is generally pink, but varieties with red, white, purple and blotched testa, with various gradations of colours are available.

DISTRIBUTION, AREA AND PRODUCTION: The major groundnut-producing countries of the world are India, China, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Burma and the USA. Out of the total area of 18.9 million hectares and the total production of 17.8 million tonnes in the world, these countries account for 69% of the area and 70% of the production. India occupies the position, both in regard to the area and the production, in the world. About 7.5 million hectares is put under it annually and the production is about 6 million tonnes. 70% of the area and 75% of the production are concentrated in the four states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa have irrigated area forms about 6% of the total groundnut area in India.

CLIMATE AND SOIL: Groundnut is grown throughout the tropics and its cultivation is extended to the subtropical contries lying between 45 degrees N and 35 degrees S and upto an altitude of 1000 metres. The crop can be grown successfully in places receiving a minimum rainfall of 1,250 mm. The rainfall should be well distributed well during the flowering and pegging of the crop.The total amount required for presowing operations (preparatory cultivation) is 100 mm; for sowing, it is 150 mm and for flowering and pod development an evenly distributed rainfall of 400-500 mm is required. The groundnut crop, however, cannot stand frost, long and severe draught or water stagnation.

Groundnut is grown on wide variety of soil types. However, the crop does best on sandy loam and loamy soils and in the black soils with good drainage. Heavy and stiff clays are unsuitable for groundnut cultivation as the pod development is hampered in these soils.

ROTATION AND MIXED CROPPING: Generally, as a kharif crop, groundnut is grown year after year. In certain places, it is rotated with wheat, jowar, bajra, garden crops, such as potatoes, onions, chillies, garlic, ginger and turmeric. The yields of the cereal crops following groundnut are usually increased by about 25%.

Pulses, e.g. red gram (arhar), mash and moong are grown mixed with groundnut. In certain places, millets e.g. jowar and bajra, and castor are grown mixed with groundnut.

SEASON: Groundnut is raised mostly as a rainfed kharif crop, being sown from May to June, Depending on the monsoon rains. In some areas or where the mansoon is delayed, it is sown as late as August or early September. As an irrigated crop it is grown to limited between January and March and between May and July.

CULTIVATION: For a kharif crop, with one set of rains in May-June, the field is given two ploughings and the soil is pulvarised well to obtain a good tilth. The third ploughing may be given just before sowing. Harrows or tillers can be used for cultivation. When the soils are heavily infested with perennial weeds, e.g. Cynodon or Cyperus, very deep ploughing is needed. If a field is infested with white grubs, chemicals, such as Heptachl or chlordane, are drilled at the rate of 25 kg per ha before final horrowing. For the irrigated crop, beds of convenient size may be made, depending on the tropography of the land, the nature of the irrigation source and the mode of liftinfg water. Since groundnut is a deep rooted plant it uses up both moisture and nutrients in the deeper layers of the soil. Generally, the following fertilizer schedules are recommended, depending upon the soil fertility, the variety grown, and the quantum and distribution of rainfall.

Farmyard manure




Rainfed crop

6.25 Tonnes





Irrigated crop

12.5 Tonnes





Usually, the application of only N and P is resorted to, since most of the Indian soils are rich in K. The application of N in two equal split doses, one before sowing and the other 30 days after sowing, is found to increase the yield. In virgin lands, when groundnut is newly introduced, the application of a culture of Rhizobium as seed treatment is beneficial in increasing nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The application of gypsom at 500 kg per ha at the pegging stage will enhance pod formation.

Healthy and well developed pods should be hand shelledor shelled with a suitable groundnut_sheeer about fornight before sowing. Well defilled kernels should be selected and treatedwith 5 gm of thiram or 3 g of Captanper kg of kernels. The kharif crop is sown with a speed-drill or with a suitable planter at a depth of 8 to 10 cm. specings adopted differ from place to place. For the rainfed bunch groundnut the inter-raw specings vary between the adjuscent rows varies from 20 and 30 and intra-raw specings between 10 and 20 cm. The quantity of well developed seeds required per hectarewith the above specings will be about 110 kg for semi-spreading and spreading varieties and 120 kg for the bunch varities.

Weeds cause considerable reduction in yield. A reduction of 20 to 45% in yield due to weeds has been recorded. For controlling weeds, and also to keep the soil in a friable condition, the crop should generally receive a hand-weeding and one or two hoeings, with bulllock-drawn implements, the first about three weeks after sowing and the second and the third about a fortnight and a month later. No interculture would be done after the pegs have commmenced going underground. Earthing up can be done in the case of bunch and semi-spreading types to fascilitate the maximum penetration of the pegs into the soil. Weeding can also be done quickly and efficiantly with a wheel hand-hoe, if the soil is light. It should be run before weeds make excessive growth. Weeds can also be controlled effectively with Lasso or Tok-E-25 weedicides at the rate of 5 litres in 500 litres of water per hectare as a pre-emergence soil spray within two days of sowing groundnut. If the Kharif crop is cought in a long spell of draught, especiallyat the pod formation stage, supplimental irrigation is given, if water is available.For the irrigated groundnut,the frequency of irrigation depends on soil texture.and interval between irrigation ranges fro 8 to 12 days. Studies on the water requirment of indicate that the prriod between the fifty first and fifty seventh day(i.e. at peg formation stage) the crop depends on timely irrigation to it during this period.

The prominant symptoms of maturity are the yellowing of leaves, the shedding of older leaves,the development of oroper color of the testa and the dark tint inside the shellThe bunch and semispredading varieties are usually harvested by hand pullingwhen there is adequate moisture in a soil. The spreading types, on the other hand, are harvested by digging with a mammity or by ploughing or working a blade harrow.The pulled out plants are stacked for a few days for drying and stripped afterwards.

The stripped pods are cleaned and dried to a safe moisture content of not more than 5%. Damp nuts, if stored, will ferment and allow the development of poisonus moulds, e.g. aspergillus flavus in the Kernels, leading to contamination with aflatoxin--a health hazard both bor human beings and livestock. The oil express from such produced will be rancid and the cake. When fed to poultry results in a heavy mortality of the birds.It is desirable to store groundnut in gunnt bags are stacked in a storeroom in tires comprising not more in each in such a way that the air keeps circulating planks to aviod damage from dampness, rats, etc. The 4store rooms should be priodically inspected to ensure that there is no storage pest or to decompose of the stock immediatly after proper cleaining.

PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids (Aphis craccivora Koch-), Leaf miner (Stomopteryx subseciva Zell), the red hairy cater piller (Amsacta albistriga Walk., and A moorei Bltr.) and the white grub(Lachnosterna consanguiea) are the serious pests of the groundnut crop. Dusting B.H.C 10% on the young larve or spraying Metasystox) 0.05% on grown up catrepillers is recomended for controlling the red hairy caterpiller. Spot-treatment with Phorate or Mephospholan granules at the rate of 1.5 kg a.i. per ha into the soil before planting is recomended for controlling the white grub.

The tikka leaf-spot (Cercospora arachidicola and C. personata) and the coller- rot (Aspergillus niger and A. pulverulentum) are important diseases of groundnut. Rust (Puccinia arachidis) has been occuring in a serious form in recent years in certain groundnut growing areas.It is desirable to store groundnut in gunnt bags are stacked in a storeroom in tires comprising not more in each in such a way that the air keeps circulating planks.Dry seed dressing with Thiram or captan @ 4g/kg of seed is recomended for controlling collar-rot. Yet spraying with Hinosan at the rate of 0.02% is recommended to check the spread of the Pathogen.

Name of the

Scientific name

Symptoms of damage

Control measures


Aphids craccivora

Black bodied tiny insects suck the sap making the plants stunted
and yellow

Spray 0.025% of methyl
demetion or < of ).05% or>

Leaf -miner

Stomopteryx subsecivella

Dark green to brown hairless
Larve mine the leaves by folding
and webbing them Plants are
retarded in growth and give a burnt-up appearance and a yellow colour

Spray 0.025% of methyl
demetion or
metasystox or 0.05% of


Euborillia stali

The earwings feed on the
both newly formed and mature pods and render them unfit for  consumption.

Drill into the soil BHC 10% dust @25 kg/ha or Temic 10 g
@ one kg/ha or before planting.

Red hairy

Amsacta albistriga

The caterpillars occur in
masses and defoliate the crop,
reducing the yield.

Dust BHC 10% dust @25 kg/ha on young larve or spray Metasystox 0.05 @ 350-400 litres per hectare.


Odontotermae obsesus

Damage the roots causing the
plants to die.Also, they scrape
the shell and eat away the soft

Apply Heptachlor 5% dust @ 25 kg per hectare.


Casual Organism


Control measures



Necrosis of the buds occurs and further growth of the plants is arrested. Axillary shoots are
produced, owing to which the
whole plant gives a whirled
appearance. Such plants seldom
produce any pods: resulting in a
heavy reduction in yeild

No control measure is available, but some culters are resistant to this disease.


Aspergillus niger

Rooting of the hypocotyl region,
wilting and death of the seedlings

Treat the seed with Thiram or Captan 3 g/kg of seed.



Motting of the leaves, accompanied with their malformation, smelling and plucking

Control aphids to arrest the
spread of the disease.

Root rot

Sclerotinia sp.

The rot begins below the soil
level, and spreads upwards and
downwards to the-system.

Drench the soil with 0.02% wet ceresan



Affected plants show a dense
clump of tufty shoots with
yellow leaves and erect habit.

Control aphids and jassids with an insecticidal spray to arrest the spread of the disease.


Puccinia arachidis

Orange-red pustules appear on
both surfaces of the leaves. Eventully, the leaflets curl and drop off.

Spray 0.02% Hinosan to check
the spread of the disease.



Necrotic circular spot surrounded
by a light-yellow ring on the
upper side of the leaves.
Spots due to M.arachidicolaare large and irregular

Spray Benlate or Bavistin@
0.05% at 2-3 week intervals
3-4 times, starting from 4-6
weeks after solving.

YIELD: Under rainfed conditions, the average yield of semi-spreading and spreading varieties is 1200-1400 kg of unshelled pods per hectare and that of bunch types is 800-1,000 kg. The crops grown with supplemental irriga- tions produce 3,000 kg more of pods per hectare. The pods yield 70 to 75 per cent of kernels by weight. The yield of haulms is usually two to two-and-half times that of pods.

VARIETIES: The varieties under cultivation fall into three groups in respect of the habit of growth, namely bunch (Spanish), semi-spreading (Virginia bunch) and spreading (Virginia runner). In the bunch group, the plants grow erect, possess light-green foliage, produce pods in clusters at the base of the plant and have round, plump non-dormant seeds, with light-rose testa. In the case of the semi-spreading and spreading varieties, the branches trail either partially or completely on the sur- face of the soil, produce pods all along them, possess dark-green foliage and have oblong, dormant brownish seeds. The semi-spreading and spreading types are usually heavier yielding and later-maturing than the bunch varieties. The improved varieties recommended for cultivation in different states are listed in the Table on the next page.

Important points for obtaining maximum Yields

1. Using the improved variety recommended for the tract
2. Using good and bold seeds for sowing.
3. Treating seed with fungicide, e.g. Captan or Thiriin, at the rate of 4 g 1 kg of seed.
4. Inoculating seed with a culture of Rhizobium in the.












Yields 1,150 kg of pods/ha under rainfed conditions with 48.1% oil





Yields 1,400 kg of pods/ha with 49.6% oil





Yields 1,500 kg of pods/ha with 50.2% oil





Yields 1,700 kg of pods/ha with 49.4% oil





Yields 1,400 kg of pods/ha with 47.6% oil




G. 221-31x

Yields 1,950 kg of pods/ha with 50.0% oil





Yields 1,000kg of pods/ha under rainfed conditions with 49.4% oil







Selection from
Ah. 288

Yields 1,250 kg of pods/ha with 52% oil. Drought-tolerant
Yields 1,390 kg of pods/ha with 47% oil. Moderately resistant to the tibba disease




Mass selection
from 'Gudia-
them bunch'

Yields 1,100-1,650 kg of pods/ha with 49.4% oil. A cosmopolitan variety. oil.Drought-tolerant.




Pure line selection from 'Bassi' of W. Africa
from Saloum
of W. Africa

Yields 1,450kg of pods with 49.7% oil.




Pure line from N.Carolina variety

Yields 1,450kg of pods/ha with 49.4% oil.Has high parcentage of 3-4 seeded pods. Suited to irrigated conditions.




Pure line from Virginia bunch

Yields 950kg of pods/ha with 48% oil.A table variety.




Pure line from Tennessee White

Yields 1,400kg of pods/ha with 49.6% oil. Kernels bold with dormancy for 10 days.




Pure line from Manaparai local

Yields 1,600kg of pods/ha with 50.1% oil.





Yields 1,530kg of pods under rainfed conditions and 1,900kg/ha under irrigation. Oil ocntent 51.4% Seed dormancy 20 days Tolerant to tibba and rust.




Spontaneous mutant from Argentina variety

Yields 1,650kg of pods/ha with 54.4% oil.Testa varigated.




Pure line from a Malaysian variety

Yields 1,450kg of pods/ha with 46.6% oil.




Pollachi redxAh.2105

Yields 1,500kg of pods/ha with 47.4% oil.





Pure line
Pure line

Yields 1,000-1,200 kg of pods/ha with 50% oil
Yields 1,200-1,300 kg of pods/ha with 50% oil






Yields 1,250kg of pods/hah with 50% oil





Yields 900kg of pods/ha with 47% oil. Preferred as a stable variety





Yields 1,020kg of pods/ha with 48% oil. Suitable for medium to heavy soils

'Improved Spanish Peanut'




Yields 1,020kg of pods/ha with 50% oil. Early-maturing (95 days.)

'Improved Small Japan'




Yields 830kg of pods/ha with 50% oil.Mature in 95 days.

'Karad 4-11'




Yields 1,700kg of pods/ha with 48% oil.

Madhya Pradesh





Yields 2,650kg of pods/ha with 53.3% oil
Yields 2,000kg of pods/ha with 49.5%oil. Early maturing type with 3-4 seeded pods





Yields 1,120kg of pods/ha with 47.1% oil.





Selection from Samrala local

Yields 1,500kg of pods/ha with 49% oil. Widely adapted





Yields 1,700kg of pods/ha with 48% oil. Moderately resistant to tibba




A-1-1xD 3

Yields 1,600kg of pods/ha with 49.5% oil.




Selection from NC-13

Yields 3,000kg of pods/ha with 49.5% oil. Bold-seeded and moderately resistant to tibba


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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.