Saturday, May 25, 2024

I Won’t Be Fooled Again

amanda huber
Amanda Huber,
Peanut Grower Editor

At the Georgia Peanut Farm Show in January, the University of Georgia Peanut Team was recognized with the Georgia Peanut Commission’s Research and Education Award for their work in peanut breeding, pest pressure, soil fertility, precision technology and economics. The team was congratulated for their excellent ability to keep producers informed in all these various disciplines that affect peanut production and bring about greater efficiency. 

This team works together cohesively, each bringing their various specialties and knowledge to the group. They are the embodiment of synergy and deserving of this award. 

That said, if you have been around this group for long, you will also note that they like to engage often in good-natured ribbing of each other. One of their frequent targets of late is UGA plant pathologist Bob Kemerait’s use of weather maps and explanations of La Niña versus El Niño.

In the production information session at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, Kemerait again started his slide show with weather maps and explained that we are facing a third year of La Niña. This likely means a warmer and drier winter and spring. He went on to explain more of what that meant for thrips pressure, which you can read starting on page 13.

I listened intently, taking notes for articles, but also making mental notes for myself. Like most every good Floridian, we have a pool. It’s just a small, round, above-ground, but it’s enough to let you escape the Florida heat for a quick dip. 

For the past couple years, February and March has been quite warm. Enough so that it had us looking at getting the pool uncovered and ready for swimming by late April or early May. Last year, we opened our pool too soon, and the weather turned. Late April and May were rainy and much cooler. The cloudy days and fresh rainwater kept me in constant turmoil over the pool. There’s nothing worse than fussing over a pool that it is still too cool to wade into but plenty warm to grow algae. My mental note was to not be fooled by the warm February and March and open the pool too soon. 

So, chuckle at Dr. Kemerait’s forecasting if you will, but know that he’s probably spot on with his admonishments of weather-related issues to come in your peanut crop. For example, if it’s going to be a third year of early thrips pressure, what can you adjust to reduce the likelihood of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus? 

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