With harvest incomplete and some areas declaring disaster from flooding, the outlook on 2016 is full of too many unknowns. However, peanuts will be planted to meet the robust demand for peanut butter and other peanut products. In many instances, rotation schemes have already dictated how many acres you will be able to plant to peanuts next year. With that in mind, consider some of the following points in your crop planning.
Add Fresh Product At Planting
Growers looking to optimize next year’s peanut crop also need to consider the effects of this year’s crop and that of the weather, particularly areas that got too much rain or parts of Hurricane Joaquin, had on the soil in many areas. Flooding depletes the soil of oxygen and creates conditions under which bacterium, a living organism, will die.
“Flooding will have a definite impact on the rhizobia population below the soil surface,” says Justin Clark, technical market specialist, BASF. “Even if your fields did not flood, previous peanut crops can take a lot of nutrients and rhizobia out of the soil, so it’s important to put fresh, robust rhizobia back into the soil at planting.”
The importance of good rhizobia inoculation should be a priority at planting. When good nodulation is achieved, the maximum yield potential is still possible. Don’t miss out on that yield potential.
Starter Fertilizer Can Be Costly
‘If some is good, more is better’ is one philosophy on inputs at planting. In the case of starter fertilizer, research has shown that this input does more harm than good in most peanut fields.
Scott Tubbs, University of Georgia cropping systems agronomist, found in his research that the use of starter fertilizer decreased profitability.
“In most years, it takes only a 50-to 80-pound-per acre increase in yield to cover the cost of the inoculant application at planting.” Starter fertilizer will decrease profitability anywhere from $15 to $54 dollars per acre, he adds.
Jay Chapin, Clemson University Extension specialist, who retired and then came back out of retirement because he was needed, previously found that with no inoculant and no additional nitrogen application, a producer could lose as much as $390 per acre. However, with no inoculant applied and 180 units of nitrogen applied as a rescue, the producer could still lose $236 per acre.
It pays to apply an inoculant at planting, and starter fertilizer only serves to hurt that symbiotic relationship between the rhizobia bacteria and the emerging seedling.
Foliage Color Not Accurate Indicator
Producers know that a dark green crop is usually a sign that everything is going well, but yellowish foliage could be a sign of many different problems. Don’t rely on foliage color to determine inoculant success or even failure. Get down into the root of the matter.
Nodulation achieved through inoculation of peanut plants has been one of Tubbs’ many studies into inoculants.
“We conducted an experiment where the roots of the peanut were carefully cut off of the plant, and then the nodules were slowly and carefully pulled off of the root cuttings. We then weighed the nodules from the different plants.
“As expected, the plants that had an inoculant applied had much more nodulation than the untreated check plants. The inoculated peanuts did better than the untreated check on all variables.”
Tubbs’ advice, “Do not depend solely on foliage color to determine an inoculant failure. Get below the surface to see that the nodules are forming and that they are active.”
Solutions For The Complete Crop
Starting the crop off right at planting is, unfortunately, not all that producers have to worry about. Peanut production must be approached as a system with many parts, inoculation being one of the many parts. Other key elements producers must be timely with include weed and disease control. For all of these management challenges, there is someone you can go to.
Sandy Newell, technical service representative, says BASF has one of the most extensive product lines available for peanut producers to choose from.
“There’s Prowl and Cadre herbicides, Headline and now Priaxor fungicides and Apogee the plant growth regulator. There is Poast herbicide for use on grasses and Outlook herbicide that can be applied over-the-top for residual control of pigweed, not to mention Vault Liquid with Integral biofungicide to get the crop off to a good start.
“We offer a variety of herbicides, fungicides and inoculant technologies, plus other products for other crops, that provide the highest level of crop protection.”
Newell says the BASF team of experts is always ready to work with peanut producers and aims to deliver products and services that not only meet the needs of producers, but also exceeds their expectations. “Our customer focus and broad product line backed by university-tested research will help you get the most from every acre, season after season.”
He adds, BASF Crop Protection will help you find the solutions you need to achieve healthier plants, higher yields and increased profit potential. “That’s our commitment to you.”