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Weather Dampens Harvest
Scout after digging for final assessment of disease pressure.

By Amanda Huber print email

Rain is a blessing when you need it and a curse when you don’t. Planting was delayed in some areas because of wet weather and now harvest is being affected as well. In the meantime, some areas got needed rains while others went lacking.

One state that got favorable rainfall was Alabama.

“Yields will probably come close to last years 3,000-plus pounds per acre average,” says Austin Hagan, Alabama Cooperative Extension plant pathologist.

However, heavy rains over a two-week period were likely to cause digging-related losses in fields with heavier soils and to promote leaf spot growth in other fields.

“Late leaf spot, and to a lesser extent early leaf spot, intensity has greatly increased,” Hagan says.

He recommended that producers who planted peanuts in early June may want to consider an additional application of Bravo or other chlorothalonil fungicide to stop the further spread of leaf spot diseases, particularly in varieties like AT3085RO or Georgia Green.

Soil Sample Now
In the traditional production areas, frequent summer rains also favored the development of peanut root knot nematodes. Fall and early winter are the best times to sample fields that are scheduled to be cropped to peanuts in 2010 for plant parasitic nematodes.

“Growers need to remember that all control decisions for dealing with root knot on peanut have to be made before the seed goes in the ground,” Hagan says. “In our field trials, Tifguard has looked very good under heavy root knot pressure when compared with other nematode susceptible varieties.”

This variety also has a disease resistance package as good as any other peanut on the market, he adds.

Look Closely At Dead Plants

In a year with more disease pressure, it can be difficult to determine the exact disease causing problems.

That’s why Austin Hagan, Alabama Extension pathologist, says growers need to look at freshly dug plants.

“Growers need to scout fields immediately after digging to determine if white mold or CBR [Cylindrocladium Black Rot] was the cause so that they can choose the right disease-tolerant variety or fungicide program to deal with either of those diseases on future peanut crops. If a grower used a good white mold fungicide and still saw numerous dead plants, then they may be looking at a serious CBR or possibly TSWV [tomato spotted wilt virus] problem.”

Hagan says all three diseases appeared this year. “There was a lot of disease activity in August and into September on white mold-susceptible cultivars like AT3085RO and Georgia Green.”

Hagan says TSWV also had a good year, and virus levels were surprisingly high in some of the newly released peanut lines. “When the data is collected, we'll have more information available on the reaction of peanut varieties to TSWV.”

One final recommendation from Hagan, growers planning to sow peanuts in early May need to pick a peanut variety with some TSWV resistance, and delay planting Georgia Green to the middle or end of May.

Drought Affects Calcium Uptake
Although the harvest weather has been favorable, Jay Chapin, South Carolina Extension agronomist, says drought in August and September took a heavy toll on yield in dryland production areas.

“Drought-related problems include pod rot from calcium deficiency, lesser cornstalk borer damage and aflatoxin risk in addition to direct yield and quality loss from plant stress,” he says.

Chapin also says late leaf spot caused significant economic losses from increased fungicides, early digging and greater pod loss on highly susceptible Virginia types.

Harvest was underway in Oklahoma, but wet, cooler weather was in the forecast, says Chad Godsey, Oklahoma State University Extension agronomist.

“Grades may be low in some fields because of a cool September and early October, but yields look to be good to very good,” he says. “The crop is very uniform in maturity.”

Harvest in New Mexico was also hampered by cooler weather. However, Naveen Puppala, New Mexico State University peanut breeder, says an average yield of 2,800 to 3,000 pounds per acre is expected this year. In the north due to cold weather, harvest is delayed.

“In Clovis, the temperature reached 29 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday morning, followed by light rain,” he says. “This week is supposed to be dry. Overall, 70 percent of Valencias are harvested.”


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