Peanut Pointers: July 2024

Rains Led To Skippy Stands, Replanting Decisions

Scott Monfort
University of Georgia
Extension Agronomist

I’ve been asked this question a lot over the past few weeks, “What is the condition of the peanut crop?” Overall, the crop has improved during this time, but issues this season include the separation in planting dates, the variation in physiological growth because of the weather and seed quality, among other challenges.

The crop that was planted in late April to early May is off to a great start in most areas with only a few isolated issues. However, the early planted crop only accounted for about 40% of the total peanut crop. Rains in May caused many acres to be planted two to three weeks later than normal. The excessive rains also caused growers to replant several fields at least once, if not twice.

Other than weather, wildlife damage — both hog and deer — is still causing significant stand and/or growth issues in several counties. Growers are encouraged to participate in trapping programs for hogs and to try repellants for deer to get some relief so plants can lap up. It is becoming increasingly apparent that growers need better wildlife control tactics. Please call your local Department of Natural Resources office for more information.

As I mentioned before, the early planted crop is off to a good start and is now approaching 60 to 70 days old. This means growers should be transitioning from planting to protecting the crop. Growers have many tools to work with when it comes to fungicides and insecticides. A well thought out, properly timed pest management program will offer a return on your investment. Success of a pest management program does not necessarily rely on the price point of chemicals. The best way to make sure you are making the right decision is to know your pest history (disease pressure) and/or have someone scout your crop weekly to let you know what kind of pests you have. Developing an informed management strategy that can be adjusted as things change is a recipe for success. Another important resource is your county agricultural agent. Feel free to contact them if you have questions or need assistance.

Above-Average Heat Units, Favorable Weather Predicted

Kris Balkcom
Auburn University
Extension Specialist

As of right now, we certainly have two distinct crops of peanuts because of the two-week gap during the planting season. The rain was very much needed in Alabama, as y’all well know. I know many don’t like to have this huge gap in your crop, but you never know, it may well be the best thing for us.

The extended forecast shows favorable weather for us to make and finish out the crop, so let’s hope this holds true. We all know how bad we need to produce a good crop this year. I know money is tight on the farm, but don’t cut yourself too short trying to save money and give up too much yield from doing so.

Also, many have asked about the time left to make the crop and expressed not wanting to spend too much if not. We have adequate time, and the forecast is predicting above-average heat units. Therefore, we must remain diligent and stay focused on producing the crop as normal.

Keep in mind the higher temperatures, coupled with moisture, and be proactive with your fungicide program this season. Also, don’t forget the late peanuts as far as calcium is concerned. Check calcium levels in the soil to see if you may need gypsum. I wish everyone a great rest of the season and look forward to seeing you in the field.

Know The Water-Use Requirement

emi kimura
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
State Extension Peanut Specialist

Most peanut fields are up to a good stand and growing well in the Southwest. May and June moisture increased weed pressure, and growers need to clean up weeds and weed escapes. Despite the periodic rainfall, West and South Texas, and eastern New Mexico, are still under abnormally dry-to-moderate drought conditions. Although not as severe as in the past two years, the Southwest’s main concern for peanut production remains the lack of enough water.

As we move into hot and dry July and August, growers need to adjust the irrigation requirements for peanuts based on the rainfall and evapotranspiration. Peak water use of peanuts will arrive around 10 to 16 weeks after planting during pegging and flowering to pod formation.

Peanuts require approximately 1.5 inches to 2 inches of water per week during this time. The amount of water lost through evapotranspiration was 2.6 inches to 2.9 inches in the Southwest during the first week of August in 2023. Growers are strongly encouraged to track the rainfall and evapotranspiration throughout the season and adjust the irrigation amount accordingly.

Water use of peanuts will start decreasing around 14 to 16 weeks and keep declining through the end of the season. Overwatering peanuts, although it rarely happens in the Southwest, can reduce potential yields by increasing disease incidents.

Keep Vines As Healthy As Possible

David Jordan
North Carolina State University
Extension Agronomist

Late June and July bring a transition from controlling weeds and thrips to putting in place a solid fungicide program for leaf spot and stem rot. In the upper Virginia-Carolina region, we need to keep our eyes out for Sclerotinia blight, but virtually all farmers need to protect peanuts from leaf spot and stem rot.

It is also possible to have outbreaks of tobacco budworm, corn earworm and fall armyworm, but infestations can be erratic. Thresholds are in place for these foliar-feeding insects. It is also possible that we will have spider mite outbreaks to contend with.

In our part of the woods, we generally have a five-spray program for leaf spot. We recommend that you start and finish with the multi-site fungicide chlorothalonil (sprays 1 and 5) with combinations of fungicides for sprays 2, 3 and 4 that control leaf spot and stem rot. If you have fields with Sclerotinia blight, consider including Miravis and Elatus for sprays 3 or 4. In fields with high levels of this disease, sequential sprays are likely warranted. Historically, this decision was much more challenging because Omega 500 (fluazinam) was expensive and did not control leaf spot. The mixture of Miravis and Elatus offers protection of all three diseases.

With respect to leaf spot, practice resistance management for sprays 2, 3 and 4 by rotating sites of action. There are numerous ways to protect peanuts from leaf spot and stem rot without selecting for resistance. We encourage farmers to use our leaf spot and Sclerotinia blight advisories. These tools can help you avoid unnecessary sprays but also take the guess work out of the decision.

Sometimes we think we don’t need to spray because it has been a while since we had rain. However, dew points may be high enough to encourage disease development even when we feel like we are close to being in a drought. Be timely with sprays when they are needed, and use the recommended rates for each fungicide.

There will be some weed escapes in many fields as we move through July and August. Make sure you are within the preharvest interval for herbicide products. With the exception of grasses and some broadleaf weeds, mid-season and late-season herbicide applications will, in most cases, only suppress weeds. However, this can make a big difference when digging and inverting vines and can reduce contributions of weed seed to the soil seedbank.

In the V-C region, prohexadione calcium (Apogee, Kudos, and Cryova) is often sprayed beginning in the middle of July when peanuts are lapping. Apply this product when 50% of laterals from adjacent rows are touching. A second application can be made two to three weeks after, depending on regrowth. The new liquid formulation of Kudos performs well, but use caution when applying with other plant-protection products. Depending on the tank-mix partner, Kudos OD can burn peanuts.

A key for the next two months is to keep vines as healthy as possible. This will help optimize yield in general but will also give us the greatest flexibility in digging.

Related Articles

Quick Links

E-News Sign-Up

Connect With Peanut Grower