Peanut Pointers


University of Georgia
Extension Peanut Agronomist

Late planting can result in potential problems. In the Southeast peanut-producing region, it is best to complete planting by May 31, if possible. Cultivars need adequate time to reach optimal maturity. This is typically about 140 days for mid-season cultivars and 160 days for late-season cultivars. On occasion, as was the case in October 2006, we have cold weather in mid-October where the minimum temperature gets low enough to halt the maturity process.

Pay close attention to weed control the first few weeks of the growing season. Research indicates that if you keep a field relatively weed free the first six weeks after planting, weeds emerging after that time will not reduce yield, except by interception of fungicides if allowed to get taller than the canopy and interference with harvest. For best results, control weeds when they are two inches in height or shorter.

Todd Baughman
Texas A&M University
Extension Agronomist

Peanut profitability is maintained through high yields. Crop rotation, weed and disease control and irrigation are critical components to high yields. With rising input costs, everyone wants to find ways to cut production costs. However, do not do this if it negatively impacts yields. The other thing to consider is that when you put the seed in the ground, you are starting with the maximum yield potential. Crop rotation and field selection have already set yield level. Irrigation, pest management and other crop inputs only help protect that yield. Therefore, things like starting late on irrigation or a missed herbicide application lower yields, and now you are only trying to protect that lower yield level. If the disease program is late, the yield goal drops further. Remember, lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a lot easier ‘n puttin’ it back in (Will Rogers).

David Jordan
North Carolina State University
Extension Agronomist
Getting the crop off to a good start will pay dividends throughout the season. Two of the first pests after planting are often weeds and thrips (damage.) Hopefully, preplant incorporated and pre-emergence herbicides were applied and activated by rainfall or irrigation and will provide adequate early season weed control. Lack of activation will minimize herbicide effectiveness and, eventually, control will breakdown. Proper identification and timely application of postemergence herbicides will minimize weed interference. Most growers apply an in-furrow insecticide to protect against thrips damage, and every year some farmers have to apply a foliar insecticide. Careful assessment of the crop and timely application of these foliar materials is critical. Minimizing plant stress from thrips damage needs to be addressed. In May, handling weeds and thrips is an important first step in optimizing growth and, subsequently, yield potential.

Kris Balkcom
Auburn University
Agri-Program Associate

Planting time is here. Moisture is not as critical as during the past two planting seasons. With adequate moisture at planting, we can not only get the peanuts in a uniform stand, but also get a head start on controlling weeds. Pre-emergence herbicides are an excellent source for grass and broadleaf weed control when moisture is not limited. These herbicides keep weed pressure down and allow peanuts to flourish without competition. Another point is to never plant into anything green. Whether it’s a stale seed bed or conservation tillage, burn down weeds. There have been times when we said, “I’ll come back and spray before peanuts emerge,” and we always had one more job to do. Before you realize it, peanuts were emerging. At planting is when we start controlling the train, not when it has left the tracks.