Peanuts are one of the most profitable crops in the U. S. and can produce crops worth $800 per acre – if the feral (wild) hogs don’t get them first.
“They can be very, very expensive for peanut growers,” Wes Utley, AgriLife Extension agent in Haskell County, north of Abilene, Texas said in a Texas A&M release.
The trouble with wild hogs begins with spring planting, he said.
“The hogs will smell the seed in the ground and they’ll come right to it, and root those seeds right out the ground,” Utley said.
Count about 90 to 100 days later, and it’s harvest time, Utley said. Rows are turned up so the peanuts, which finish growing underground, can dry out before being combined.
It’s during this drying time that the peanuts are again at high risk.
“That’s just easy pickings for the hogs to come right down the row and demolish them,” he said. “Two or three hogs will go down a row, and if you get a herd of 20 out there, they can wipe out two or three acres in a night.”
Hogs are nocturnal so farmers often hire farm hands or high school students to watch their fields.
“But of course, whatever fields they are sitting on, that’s the one where the hogs won’t come to that night.”
A Texas A&M publication says there are an estimated two million feral hogs in Texas alone. There are three strains – Eurasian wild boars, escaped domestic pigs, and hybrids of the two.
“Two or three hogs will go down a row, and if you get a herd of 20 out there, they can wipe out two or three acres in a night.”