Maintaining Momentum

Can the record-breaking yields of 08 be continued in 09?

  More On CBR

Cylindrocladium black rot (CBR) can be a hard-hitting disease. Several universities have documented 50 percent losses or greater when the disease was left untreated.

University of Georgia plant pathologist Tim Brenneman says CBR is “probably as severe a disease as we have to deal with on farms where it occurs.”

Brenneman suggests an integrated management program to minimize yield loss from CBR:

• Select cultivars with some resist- ance, such as Georgia-02C and Georgia-01R

• Use Proline fungicide at-plant and Provost fungicide in-season

• Spray fungicides at night for im- proved canopy penetration

• Avoid spreading disease via equip- ment and peanut hay

• Use long crop rotations and avoid soybeans

U.S. peanut growers rewrote the record books in 2008, with the total crop topping five billion pounds and average yields reaching an unprecedented 3,416 pounds per acre.

The challenge for 2009: maintain momentum. Consultants and Extension specialists are looking closely at management practices that will bring growers maximum yields on each peanut acre.

Reaching For 7,000 Pounds
Georgia consultant Michael Parker knows a thing or two about maximum yields. Last year, he consulted on a 47-acre field farmed by Don and Chris Simmons in Mitchell County that yielded more than 7,000 pounds per acre. Parker says two key tools helped them achieve the huge yields: Georgia-06G and Provost fungicide.

“We used Georgia-06G in 2007 and made three tons, too,” Parker says. “It is a good variety, but the fields were so clean, the good disease control from Provost certainly contributed to those big yields.”

With the Provost four-block program, Parker saw broad-spectrum protection on several key foliar and soilborne diseases, including leafspot and high levels of white mold. Provost also protects against Rhizoctonia limb rot, leaf scorch, leaf rust and web blotch, plus suppression of Cylindrocladium black rot (CBR).

“All of my customers use Provost,” Parker says. “We researched Provost and felt it was the best fungicide to use. We just didn’t see much disease on our fields, even on fields in two-year rotations.”

Parker also suggests planting early if weather cooperates – that way, growers can set more peanuts before unforgiving 100-degree temperatures arrive in the summer, and they can harvest ahead of hurricane season.

Additional Management Advice
University of Georgia peanut agronomist Dr. John Beasley says growers should review several management practices that can have big effects on peanut yields, including cultivar selection, irrigation timing, pest protection and rotation strategy.

“Rotation still remains a very critical component of high yield potential,” Beasley says. “The producers with the highest yields each year typically plant peanuts in the same field once every four or five years.”

Beasley suggests planting peanuts following corn or cotton. Because soybeans and peanuts are both legumes, growers should plant corn or cotton between these crops. Growers with a history of CBR should lengthen the rotation interval and exclude soybeans in the rotation, he adds.

“What else can growers do to keep high yields?” Beasley says. “Select one of the new high-yielding cultivars, manage all pest problems by spraying on a timely basis and irrigate when needed if irrigation is available – or pray for timely rainfall if growing in a dryland situation.”

Rhea & Kaiser, which represents Bayer CropScience, provided information for this article. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no endorsement is intended by John Beasley, Tim Brenneman and the University of Georgia.


Tips For “Spring Cleaning” Tractors

Whether your tractor has been in the shed for the winter or out tackling the toughest of chores, it’s time for a thorough “spring cleaning” inside and out to get ready for that long list of upcoming spring and summer projects on your acreage or small farm. Investing a couple of hours heads off breakdowns and helps maintain resale value.

Follow this list for “spring cleaning” and preventive maintenance. Your tractor’s owner’s manual provides a detailed explanation of regular service and maintenance specific to the model you own. And, your local dealer is a resource for service, as well as genuine Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) parts to keep your tractor running like new.

Begin With A Thorough Inspection
• Look for loose or missing nuts, bolts and screws, then tighten or replace them.
• Make sure the loader or other attachments are connected properly and all pins and bolts are in place.
• Look at all electrical connections and check them to see if they’re still wired tightly.
• Check for fluid leaks and worn or cracked belts. Add engine coolant and replace belts as needed.
• Check the condition of your tractor’s battery. A voltage me- ter reading below nine volts indicates you need a new battery. Make sure the battery connections are tight and free of cor- rosion.
• Check the tires for proper air pressure and wear. Replace the tires if needed.
• Finally, tighten wheel lugs according to the owner’s manual. Typically, this is done after the first 10 hours of use and again at 50-hour intervals.

Make The Needed Changes
• Change the engine oil and filter.
• Change the fuel filter, and if the tractor has not been used for several months, drain out old fuel to prevent dirt or water that has accumulated from damaging the engine.
• Install new spark plug(s) and points.
• Replace engine and air conditioning air filters, removing any debris from these areas.
• Contact your local dealer for genuine OEM replacement parts designed and manufactured to the exact specifications of your tractor. Many OEM parts come with a 12-month warranty, and all are backed by the manufacturer to provide quality and reliable performance.

• Check your owner’s manual for grease zirk locations (so you don’t miss any) and direction on the type of grease or lubri- cant to use. Check the loader and other attachments as well for grease fittings.
• You also can apply a drop of lubricating oil to each nut, bolt and joint on the tractor to prevent rust and keep them from seizing up.

Wash And Polish
• Use a mild soap and hose or power washer to clean away mud and debris. Automotive degreaser is an effective way to remove greasy build-up on the engine and chassis. Don’t forget the radiator screens and the underside of your tractor.
• Vacuum and wipe dust from inside the cab and wash cab windows to ensure the best view of your work.
• Give the tractor an occasional wax or polish to enhance the paint finish and add to the tractor’s resale value.

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