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Disease Management

Your Disease Management Program
Dealing with diseases is a fact of life in peanut production. The goal of a disease management program is prevention. Therefore, decisions concerning control measures should be reached before a single seed is planted and implemented throughout the entire crop year. Waiting until the disease is readily noticeable invites an epidemic and complete crop disaster.

In evaluating a disease management program, consider the following:

• Crop rotation. Long rotations reduce soil-borne diseases and leaf spot. A rotation away from peanuts for at least three years is good, four years is even better.

• Correct identification. Learn to identify and distinguish one disease from another. Know what diseases pose a threat and the conditions in which that disease will likely appear.

• Field mapping. Keep a record of disease problems on field maps to help target treatments.

• Resistant varieties. Plant varieties resistant to diseases present.

• Timing of fungicide sprays. Use a calendar schedule or weather advisory to determine timing of the first spray and subsequent treatments. Protecting your crop before infection occurs is crucial.

• Equipment calibration and good canopy coverage are keys to a successful program. Improper calibration either wastes product by applying more than is needed or not enough to do the job. Poor coverage of fungicides is wasted money as the crop is not adequately protected. Use a lower pressure to make sure fungicides cover the canopy. A single, flat-fan nozzle directly over the row works well.

An effective disease management program is vital to growing a high yielding, quality crop.