Take advantage of this opportunity to give your crop the best possible start.
• By Amanda Huber •
“Once you close that furrow, many of your opportunities are gone. It can be insurance or a missed opportunity. Base your decisions on the risk you are willing to live with.”
Start With Quality Seed
University of Georgia Extension peanut specialist Scott Monfort says there are a lot of options for insecticides, fungicides and inoculants that will help the seed get off to a good start and protect seedlings. However, there are also a lot of sales pitches to put other products in the furrow that may or may not work. So what is needed in the furrow, and what is not?
“Start with good quality seed,” Monfort says. “Also, know the germination of your seed because if you don’t, you won’t know how to adjust the seeding rate to get the desired stand.
“Tomato spotted wilt virus has been increasing in the past few years, and we saw a big spike last year. One reason is that we are planting a lot earlier. If TSWV keeps increasing, it will cause more yield loss and may end up backing up planting dates to the middle of May when the Peanut Rx risk index shows there is less susceptibility.
“Producers should also choose a variety that has a good disease package and more tolerance to TSWV,” he says.
Whatever the variety choice, Kemerait says to never plant a peanut seed that doesn’t have a seed treatment on it.
“Seed treatments are the first line of defense against seedling diseases such as Aspergillus crown rot and Rhizoctonia, and also against nematodes. Protecting against skippy stands created by these seedling diseases also helps with TSWV.”
UGA cropping systems agronomist Scott Tubbs says inoculants are another important input to put in the furrow.
“Apply inoculants in fields that have been out of peanut for more than five years. However, it is a good practice to apply inoculants each year, especially following years of extreme weather like prolonged hot, dry periods or extended water-logged soils.”
Applying an inoculant to the seed in furrow ensures that peanut-specific bacteria are available and ready to colonize seedling roots so the plant can begin fixing nitrogen quickly. It is yet another step in getting a good, uniform stand.
Another reason TSWV is increasing, according to Monfort, is related to insecticide use. At-plant insecticides are recommended by the UGA peanut team, including Extension entomologist Mark Abney, as a good investment against thrips.
“Some insect pests are a certainty every year. Every year, there will be thrips and caterpillars in peanut fields. I feel strongly that an at-plant insecticide for thrips is a good investment. However, not every field needs to be treated for insects after planting.”
Which at-plant insecticide should producers use?
Monfort says, “If you are planting in late April or before May 10, we would rather you use Thimet (phorate). I know some growers don’t like putting it out because of the difficulty, but it is the only thing that suppresses the virus.”
“Thimet is the only insecticide that reduces the risk of TSWV,” Abney says. “However, if you put imidacloprid in furrow and you’re happy with that, and you are seeing only 5% TSWV, I’m not going to try to convince you to do anything different.
“But I want you to be aware that you are at a higher risk for TSWV than you would be if you used Thimet in-furrow.”
In-Furrow Fungicide Options
An in furrow fungicide is also an option, and Kemerait explains when to use these crop protection products.
“If you have had trouble getting a stand in the past, if there is a concern, ‘is my seed going to be good enough even with the seed treatment,’ then azoxystrobin or Abound in-furrow is recommended.
“Cylindrocladium black rot is also starting to come back a bit. If you have had CBR in the past, consider Proline in furrow. You only have one good chance to fight CBR, which can be seed transmitted but also stays on residue in the field. It is almost impossible to control during the season. Once it shows up, Proline in-furrow is the best option.”
At-plant nematicides are also an important in furrow addition.
“Velum Total is an at-plant nematicide that also has some fungicide properties. It will also give some help with leafspot mangement,” Kemerait says.
AgLogic brand aldicarb is another at-plant product for use on nematodes and early thrips pressure.
Kemerait wants producers to know that in-furrow fungicides are only a complement to seed treatments but do not replace them.
What Does Not Go In The Furrow?
Monfort says nearly every year he gets a call about a stand problem that can be traced back to something being put in the furrow that does not belong.
“We put a lot of stuff in the furrow. What should never go in the furrow is fertilizer of any kind, whether it is a biological stimulant or not. If it’s hot and dry and you have limited moisture, you will kill the seed.”
Take the opportunity at planting to get the crop off to the best start possible with good quality treated seed, inoculants and in-furrow pesticides. Consult an Extension agent or specialist for use of at-plant products not included in Peanut Rx or the UGA Peanut Production Quick Reference Guide.