Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Dry Start To This Season

amanda huber
Amanda Huber,
Peanut Grower Editor

Peanuts planted prior to May 10 are at increased risk to thrips injury and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. That’s a standard advisory developed with the TSWV index and now with Peanut Rx. 

Some peanuts had been planted by that time across the peanut belt, but it was also dry and getting drier. Pam Knox, University of Georgia senior public service associate and director of the UGA weather network, said by then that some parts of eastern Georgia and southern South Carolina were in severe drought. 

Tyron Spearman’s “Peanut Farm Market News” on May 8 reported only 28% planted in Georgia and 22% and 35% for Alabama and Florida, respectively. Soil moisture in Georgia was 10% very short. Of course, in Texas, a severe drought has been ongoing and soil moisture was 91% very short, and understandably only 5% planted. 

This issue of Peanut Grower has a couple of articles about crop water management, one on page 10, “Finding that ‘Just Right’ Amount.” In this article, UGA associate professor and Extension precision agriculture and irrigation specialist Wes Porter encourages producers to use some type of irrigation scheduling method to make sure they stay on top of the crop’s water requirement throughout the season because it changes as the crop grows and progresses. 

However, you need moisture to get the crop going in the first place. In this case, Scott Monfort, UGA Extension peanut specialist, says it is best to irrigate ahead of planting so the ground is moist. Waiting until after planting can “shock” peanut seed causing erratic and slower emergence. 

Getting back to thrips, the news here was not encouraging. UGA Extension entomologist Mark Abney put out an advisory in mid-May that thrips populations were high on volunteer peanuts in fields that were being burned down for planting in the Florida Panhandle.

Abney says, “UGA research shows that for every 1% TSWV incidence in Georgia-06G at the end of the season, peanuts lose 20 pounds of yield per acre.”

Those who still had not planted had an opportunity to manage peanuts for thrips and TSWV, but as Abney says, “Most thrips management options and all TSWV management options end when the seed furrow closes.”

Let’s hope we are getting all the bad news out of the way early this season, and that from here on in, it will be smooth sailing. 

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