Growing Peanuts – Crop Nutrition 101

What you need to know about peanut fertilization, best practices, and more

Crop Nutrition Information for Growing Peanuts (Arachis hypogae):

  • Peanuts grow best in a soil pH range of 6.0-7.5

  • Liming is recommender for fields with soil pH less than 6.0

  • Fertilizer efficiency is increased in soil pH 6.0-7.0

  • Peanuts grow best in well-drained, light-colored, loose, friable, sandy loams that contain high levels of Calcium (Ca) and a moderate amount of organic matter

Key Nutrients: 

  • Peanuts, like other legumes do not require a lot of Nitrogen (N) fertilizer and can fulfill their own N needs with adequate (yearly) inoculation 
  • Calcium (Ca) is the most critical nutrient for achieving high yields and grades; this can be supplied with Polysulphate in combination with gypsum 
  • Soil calcium (Ca) is needed in high levels for viable seed development 
  • High levels of Potassium (K) can inhibit Ca uptake 
  • Soil test recommendations show 3:1 ratio of Ca to K 
  • Soil moisture can also inhibit Ca uptake 
  • Surface application of Ca at early bloom is recommender since Ca below the 3” pegging zone can cause Ca deficiencies  

Nutrient Removal 

Nutrient balance is key to quality yields.  


Nutrient removal by Peanut  

(Alabama Extension: ANR-0449) 


Nuts (4000 lb) 

N – 140  

P2O5- 22  


Ca -6  


S -10  


Vines (5000 lbs)  


N – 100  

P2O5- 17  


Ca -88  


S -11 

Role of Nutrients: 

Key quality and yield parameters can be affected by different nutrients. See how they can influence your harvest. 

+ = improving 

– = decreasing 

+/- = different results, depending on the rate of nutrient applied 


Yield: N++, P+, K+/-, Mg+, Ca++, S+ Quality: N+, P+, K+/-, Mg+, Ca++, S+

Peanut Harvest


  • One of the major benefits of growing peanuts, or any legume is that the crop requires little nitrogen fertilizer. Peanuts are efficient legumes that fulfills its own N requirement through association with specific rhizobium (Bradyrhizobia). To access this benefit, it is recommended to inoculate every field, every year especially if out of peanut for 3 years or more and early-season scouting of nodulation should be part of the crop scouting program. 


  • To maximize yield and quality use a balanced fertility program based on soil testing that maintain adequate levels of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S) and micronutrients.  

  • Polysulphate is a neutral fertilizer that supply base cations such as Ca, Mg, and K, so while it may not increase the soil pH it won’t lower the pH either. We recommend applying Polysulphate at planting to supply, K, Mg, & S followed by Gypsum to supply the needed Ca at early bloom. Previous trial as shown positive response to Polysulphate application particularly in dryland peanut production system. 

  • The best strategy is to apply the recommended K fertilizer at planting based on soil test results. Remembering that sufficiency level for K is lower than for other crops as peanut is a good scavenger for K, Mg & S.  

  • The best strategy is to apply the recommended P fertilizer at planting based on soil test results. Remembering that sufficiency level for P is lower than for other crops as peanut is a good scavenger.

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