What type of yield loss can be expected with lower plant populations?

• By David Jordan •

peanut replanting
Supplemental replanting of peanut means you’ll have crops with two different maturities, presenting a challenge for management and harvest decisions — photo courtesy University of Georgia

One important question this year is what is the yield loss with lower plant populations? This can be difficult to answer.

Is it a general reduction in stand across the field or long skips or spotty areas? If it is generally a lower population across the field without major skips, the following information on seeding rates might help.

Based on research at NC State University and Virginia Tech over two years (varieties Bailey, Sullivan, Wynne), yield averaged over these varieties (and digging dates and locations) was 6% (2.5 plants/foot) and 4% (3.3 and 4.1 plants/foot) lower than yield at 4.6 plants/foot (the highest population.)

This is an estimate and quick interpretation of some of the data. Based on research at the Peanut Belt Station over several years (variety Bailey), yield of peanuts planted June 8 and June 15 was about 15% and 33% lower, respectively, compared with peanut planted in May.

However, take a look at an earlier Peanut Note (Peanut Notes No. 219 2019) on the peanut Extension portal. Yield in a 2019 trial was the greatest with the early June planting. But we had a perfect fall for late-planted peanuts. This is a hard call. But if I had about 2.5 plants/foot, I would keep what I had and move on (6% lower yield with a low population compared with, on average, 15% less yield on June 8 or 15% less yield on June 15).

This does not consider the costs of replanting. But this assumes a fairly uniform stand across the field. If you have big gaps or skips this is an even harder call. Equipment is so big now spot planting is hard to do.

If I did replant, either a completely new planting operation (starting over completely) or dropping in with plants that are up remaining in the field, I would plant at least five seed per foot.

Dr. David Jordan is North Carolina State University Extension peanut specialist. He may be reached at david_jordan@ncsu.edu.

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