Peanut Pointers


University of Georgia
Extension Peanut Agronomist

One of the more common problems in growers’ fields in 2008 was nutrient or soil fertility, especially micronutrient deficiency or toxicity problems. Some, if not most, of the micronutrient problems were a result of soil pH being too high or too low. In the winter months, growers should take soil samples in every field that will be planted to peanut in 2009. Just because the soil fertility and pH was right in 2008 doesn’t mean the nutrient levels and pH will be sufficient in 2009. The previous crop and weathering will cause either, or both, to change. Be sure and pull soil samples as deep as the soil will be turned if in a conventional-tillage system that includes deep turning. We have seen soil fertility related problems when soil samples are pulled 8 to 10 inches deep, and then the soil is turned 12 inches or deeper.

Todd Baughman
Texas A&M University
Extension Agronomist

As we wrap up this growing season, it is time to start thinking about and planning for next year. The key to profitability in peanut is maintaining high yields. One of the most important things we can do to ensure high yields is to follow a proper rotation program. A minimum of two years out of peanut is needed, with three or four years being even better. Peanut should never be planted every year or even every other year.

This is the first step in planning for a successful 2009 growing season.The second step is making sure that you have the irrigation capacity to maintain high yields. This may best be accomplished by splitting a pivot in half or even a third. Planting a small grain crop on the other portion may be the best way to maximize our irrigation during the growing season for the summer peanut crop.

David Jordan
North Carolina State University
Extension Agronomist
The most important aspects of farming are genetics, environment, management and business. With peanuts, diversify genetics by planting different varieties in different fields. The potential for all varieties is good if grown in the correct environment, which means knowing field history with respect to disease and the variety’s capacity to perform under weather extremes. Part of implementing production and pest management strategies is knowing how quickly a control tactic can be implemented across the acreage in question. Finally, the business end of the equation is critical for long-term sustainability. With decent prices for corn, cotton, soybean and wheat, it is important to pencil out the potential return for all crops and a return on investment appropriate for the cost of production for each crop. For Virginia market types, how will 2009 prices compare with other crops? If other options compare well, how do rotation changes affect the flexibility of moving back into peanuts in a year or two?

Kris Balkcom
Auburn University
Agri-Program Associate

Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief now from finishing up the 2008 peanut crop. Acres were not the only thing up in Alabama this year. Yields were up from the previous year all across the state. However, grades were still lower than expected because of the late dry weather and newer, larger-seeded varieties with a thicker hull. The summer rains played a pivotal role in the increased yield for the state average, but rain was not the only factor. Everyone has lengthened their rotations, which also helped contribute to the higher yields for this past year. We need to keep our rotation first and foremost in mind for the future. A good rotation, three to four years, helps a producer maintain a higher average yield by reducing disease pressure. Keep this in mind as we get close to planting the 2009 peanut crop.