Peanut Pointers

Maintaining Seed Quality
One concern for growers in 2018 is seed quality. Many problems were observed last year with seed vigor enhancing seedling disease and herbicide injury. The good news is the 2017 peanut seed crop has been one of the best quality crops seen in several years. This does not mean growers won’t experience problems in 2018, but it should reduce potential seed quality issues significantly. A few things you can do to help defend against potential seed problems:
Make sure the seed you purchase is of good quality visually (look in the bag).

Keep a sample of each lot you plant until they emerge. Make sure to put the one pound sample in a paper bag and in a cool, dry area.

Remember, do not keep your seed in any location where you have extreme temperatures for long periods of time. This could cause your seed quality to diminish.

Plant seed in the order you receive them from shellers/buying point. First in, First out.

If you are planting early in cool, wet conditions, planting farmer-saved seed or in conditions that favor aspergillus crown rot (hot and dry conditions), the addition of an in-furrow fungicide can help ensure adequate germination, emergence and final plant stand.

Plant in good moisture and proper soil temperatures (at least 68 degrees for three days with no cold fronts in forecast).

Make sure the planter is set and working correctly – vacuum leaks or stopped up lines, seed plates, seed spacing, insecticide and inoculant applicators. Simple problems can cause big issues.

Seed Supply and Information on Varieties
The most prevalent variety continues to be Georgia-06G with more than 83 percent of the seed acres in 2017. The varieties TUFRunner ‘297,’ TUFRunner ‘511,’ Georgia-09B, TifGuard, Georgia-12Y, Georgia-13M, Georgia-14N are available but may be on limited acres. The newest varieties are Georgia-16HO, FloRun ‘331,’ and AU-NPL 17, which are not commercially available and are being evaluated in research and Extension trials. Key things to remember regarding some of the available varieties:

• Georgia 12Y and Georgia 14N are later-maturing and need to be planted by May 12 to ensure yield potential.
• Georgia-12Y is more susceptible to Rhizoctonia Limb Rot. Use fungicides to minimize impact of this disease.
• Georgia-09B, Georgia-13M and TUFRunner ‘511’ are more susceptible to leaf spot compared to other varieties.

Call your Extension agent if you have any questions or comments regarding varieties.

Examine Each Production Step
The 2017 peanut crop was very good for most farmers in the V-C region. Still, there are always things we can learn and apply the next growing season. Hopefully, you have identified some of these and are on your way to developing strategies to address those weaknesses.

Contract prices in 2017 were good, but there is concern that contracts in 2018 will be less because of supply. Often, when prices are lower, we look more closely at production and pest management inputs. This is a good thing, but be careful not to increase risk and vulnerability in the process. There is a core cost to peanut production, and one can only cut so much without doing more harm than good. Taking inventory on each input is always a healthy thing to do. This is where Cooperative Extension budgets can provide a framework that helps you examine each step.
Some of the major costs are seed, pest management and, for Virginia-market types, use of gypsum. Our recommendations are to establish 4-5 plants per foot of row. With resurgence in tomato spotted wilt in 2017, planting lower seeding rates that deliver only 3-4 plants increases risk. Pesticides used in peanuts almost always pay for themselves.

While we promote IPM practices that, in theory, push us in the direction of applying pesticides only when the pest reaches an economic threshold, we have to be timely with reactive practices and that can be a logistical challenge. Each of you knows your operation and when you need to be protective and when you can “see what develops.”
Hopefully, during winter production meetings we are helping folks identify some places to save money without substantially increasing risk. A wise person once told me, “You can save your way to profit or grow your way to profit.” He didn’t fill in the details; that is for each of us to do using the resources we have available in that process.

Interested In Organic Production?
High demand has increased the interest in organic peanut production. The Southwest is home to the majority of organic peanut acres in the United States, with most acres being planted to Spanish or Valencia cultivars.
While there may be economic advantages to growing organic peanuts, several things must be considered before transitioning from conventional production. For example, fields designated for organic production must have an organic system plan, implement that plan, have it reviewed by a certified agent and be thoroughly inspected. If an operation complies with these requirements and the proper transitionary period has elapsed, then organic production can be initiated.

Producers interested in organic production need to pay close attention to cultivar selection, especially as it relates to diseases caused by foliar and soilborne pathogens. The number of products labeled for use in organic production is limited, thus the use of disease-resistant cultivars is critical for maximizing yield and maintaining quality.
One limitation to organic peanut production is the lack of effective control of the seedling disease complex. Fungi such as Aspergillus, Pythium and Rhizoctonia spp. are capable of affecting stands. Several products are labeled for use at-plant to control seedling disease, but efficacy can be variable.

The use of high-quality, vigorous seed and delaying planting until soil temperatures increase will help decrease the risk of seedling disease. In addition, planting at a shallow depth can limit exposure of germinating seedlings to attack by these fungi. Seed planted too deep often decay prior to emergence and may result in skips in the field. Reduced stands lead to more severe weed competition.

Weed control is a major limitation in organic production. Cultural practices can be used to manage weeds; however, hoeing is most effective. Weed pressure is dependent on weed species present, seed densities in the soil and environmental conditions. As in conventional production systems, weed control is most critical early in the season during establishment and early pod fill. Once plants have lapped, peanuts are capable of shading out and out-competing weeds. Fertilizer options cleared for organic production are also limited, thus a detailed nutrition plan utilizing approved nutrient sources must be implemented. Insect issues are seldom a concern in organic systems.
Other than these practices, organic peanuts should be maintained similarly to conventionally grown peanuts. If you have any questions related to organic peanut production contact your local Extension office.

Thoughts On Variety Selection
Which variety should I plant in 2018? Even though Georgia-06G has been around for a while and we have seen more damage and TSWV from it in the last few years, this variety showed us this year why we have had it for so long and continue to rely on it. It is a proven variety and continues to show out in certain years. However, I do believe there is a lot of risk in continuing to plant the whole crop in it.

I would encourage everyone to look at all the variety trial data that is available from all across the state and, especially, from your growing region. This is an excellent opportunity to see how these different varieties respond, not only in yield differences, but also how they are affected from the varying amounts of disease pressure at the different locations. I recommend planting a few different varieties, instead of every field in one variety that could fail at any time.

Some variety specifics are as follows. Some producers don’t like the amount of vine that comes with Georgia-12Y, considering the drying-down time to get ready to combine. However, even though this is a long-season variety, it is one that has a lot of flexibility at harvest time with a fair grade in the low to mid 70s. It also has good virus resistance coupled with good disease tolerance and the capability to have comparable yield or even out yield Georgia-06G.

Looking at some of the high oleic varieties, I was surprised this year in the amount of leafspot in TUFRunner ‘297’ along with its performance in comparison to TUFRunner ‘511.’ We all knew that TUFRunner ‘511’ was weak on leaf spot, but it does a better job holding on to peanuts in tough circumstances than 297. However, the variety FloRun ‘331’ looks like a superior variety in comparison right now, but will have limited availability.

Other new varieties with the high oleic trait showing some promise are AU NPL 17, which grows a lot of vine and has a good disease package along with good yield potential, and TifNV-HI O/L, which is the new peanut root-knot nematode resistant variety that has the high oleic trait along with a respectable yield potential. Georgia-16 HO is yet another high oleic variety to watch in the future. PG