Weather conditions drive production practices offering producers a variety of issues to focus on.
By Amanda Huber
As in many areas of the peanut belt, Maria Balota, assistant professor of crop physiology at the Virginia Tech Tidewater Area Research Center, says that Virginia farmers planted later this year in comparison to the norm because of excessive rain. In fact, in several places, rains of up to 12 inches a few days after planting made farmers have to replant.
“In Southampton County, for example, 200 acres of peanut were replanted because of this. But now, peanuts are up and growing nicely.”
Balota says thrips have not been a major problem this year, likely because of the later planting but fast growing conditions from the adequate soil moisture and higher temperatures in the past two to three weeks. “However, in my experimental plots plantings in late April were affected.”
Avert Nutrient Deficiencies
For those peanuts affected by thrips, Balota says that the CruiserMaxx seed treatment had to be supplemented with Orthene sprays.
“Orthene spraying was necessary for those peanuts,” but at times that affected emergence, she says.
Balota says gypsum applications are taking place right now in farmers’ fields as flowering approaches and a manganese deficiency in early September of last year in many fields in Virginia and North Carolina is something she suggests keeping an eye on this year.
“I have not seen leaf yellowing in any of the farmers’ fields yet, but I am seeing it in my experimental plots, and I think that manganese and boron applications are about to start soon.
“Usually, we apply manganese and boron twice during vegetation; but if the weather will be as moist as it was last year, we may need to apply more manganese and for a third time towards the end of August,” she says.
Finally, watch for the leaf spot advisories from Dr. Pat Phipps, which as of June still showed low risk.
Protect Against Disease
Rome Ethredge, Seminole County Extension Coordinator for the University of Georgia, says early planted peanuts are blooming well and pegging now, but because the planting season was drawn out, there are lot of ages of peanuts.
“Thrips have been a problem and peanuts look ragged. Leaf spot protectant sprays are now being applied.
“Peanut pegging reminds us that they need calcium in the pegging zone, so gypsum applications will go on soon,” Ethredge says.
Work On Those Troublesome Weeds
David Wright, Extension agronomist for the University of Florida, says the peanut crop in Florida is coming along well, but needs rain in areas that are not irrigated.
“Peanuts are starting to bloom and just beginning to peg down,” he says. “There was some thrips damage early, and now we are seeing three cornered alfalfa leaf hopper damage but little disease to this point.”
Overall, Wright says they have a good crop coming along with less acreage than last year, and good moisture conditions will be necessary for the next eight weeks to make as good of a crop as 2012.
“Mid-summer is the time of year to fight weeds that come on after the residual at-plant herbicide effects are gone,” Wright says. “Strip-till fields with high residue has helped to hold down Palmer amaranth and other weeds, and it all looks good.”
For The 2013 Crop:
• Apply gypsum to the pegging zone to supply needed calcium.
• Watch for micronutrient deficiencies and apply manganese as well as boron.
• Look for leaf spot advisories and protect against foliar and soilborne diseases.
• Control those weeds that have come up since planting.
• Work to maximize available irrigation water.
Maximize Irrigation Capacity
Calvin Trostle, Extension agronomist with Texas A&M, says that despite recent rains all of the West Texas peanut production area remains in the worst two categories of the University of Nebraska/ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration drought monitor.
“There is essentially no soil moisture reserve for peanuts. A few of our counties in West Texas are now under pumping limits that will ratchet down to 15 inches per year for total land area.”
Trostle says producers have tended to reduce field size to ensure that they can adequately water the crop.
The pumping restrictions do not directly apply to the three main peanut counties of Gaines, Yoakum and Terry, which are in different underground water conservation districts, he says.
“Of the peanut fields I have been in recently southwest of Lubbock, growth is slightly behind normal. On average, growers planted peanuts about a week later this year because of cool conditions and even a freeze as late as May 3.”
Still, Trostle says the prospects for a good crop remain and any rainfall that is received will help this come to fruition.