Saturday, September 23, 2023

Final Planting Reminders

Research and past missteps highlight cues for before, during and just after planting. 

⋅ BY AMANDA HUBER ⋅

What may seem like simple, even elementary, reminders at the start of the season may be born out of real-life mistakes or years of research. Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension peanut specialist, offers just such advice for before, during and just after planting this year. 

Before Planting

Once variety selection has been made and seed ordered, Monfort says growers need to take care of that seed, but also take a look at it. 

“Put those bags of seed in the right place, keeping them cool and dry. However, before putting it into the hopper, take a look at the seed,” he says. “Sometimes we find seed with a lot of splits. If that’s all you’ve got, then you need to bump up the seeding rate to make sure you’ve got enough to get a good stand.”

Soil prep is important, says Monfort. Good seed-to-soil contact is a known factor for germination. However, Monfort says sometimes this can be overlooked when trying something new. 

“For example, a farmer acquired a field with corn stubble. He decided to plant peanuts behind the corn with reduced tillage instead of deep turning the soil. Without good cleaners on the planter, a lot of the seed went into residue and never touched the soil. That was an expensive lesson,” he says.

Another costly mistake would be to plant without adequate moisture. 

“We had some folks last year that said, ‘Hey, we have rain potentially coming. I’m going to plant into dry dirt,’” Monfort says. “That is absolutely the wrong thing to do for peanuts. 

Before Planting:

• Handle seed with care.
• Look at the seed to check for splits.
• Make sure you prep the soil to get good seed-to-soil contact.
• Check for good soil moisture.
• Take a soil temperature reading in the top 4 inches.
• Know that a cool spell is not in the
forecast.

“You can do that with cotton, but you can’t do that with peanuts. You’ve got to start with enough moisture already in the soil and start clean, whether it’s reduced tillage or conventional. If you start with weeds growing, you can’t back up, and you’ll spend more money.”

Peanut seed

requires soil

temperatures

of 68 degrees

in the top

4 inches of soil

for three to four

days with no

foreseeable cool

weather for

good germination.

A last reminder from Monfort before planting is that soil temperature is a big deal.

“It needs to be 68 degrees in the top 4 inches of soil for three to four days with no foreseeable cool spell. We don’t want to plant and next week it gets cold,” he says. “All these things matter.”

During Planting

Monfort’s recommendation during planting is one he has been hitting hard the past few years, and that is to not put any fertilizer of any kind in with the seed at planting. 

During
Planting:

• Do not put a fertilizer of any kind in the furrow with seed.

“In at least 15 research trials across five states, we have shown that fertilizer placed in the furrow at planting is a detriment to peanut growth,” he says. “There should be no fertilizer in the furrow. It slows emergence. Even at a reduced rate, it still slows emergence by two to three days. This is something we need to eliminate.” 

It doesn’t help with yield either, Monfort says.

After Planting

The final recommendation from Monfort is on the weed management front, and that is to apply Valor as quickly after planting as possible.

“We know that sometimes we will see some problems, and we can’t always predict when we might have issues, but it is best to get the Valor out so that you start with good weed control,” he says. 

These pictures show peanut seedlings with valor injury on May 26 and then nearly completely recovered on June 3. After Planting, apply Valor herbicide quickly after planting.

Monfort says if you also have to irrigate to keep the crop growing vigorously at the early stage, do that as well. There will be injury, but years of research have shown that peanuts grow out of the injury, and it does not affect yield. What does affect yield is early season weed competition. 

With these reminders in place, along with other recommendations, farmers can be ready to start the season off on the right foot. PG

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