One For The Books

Superb growing conditions are expected to serve up record-breaking yields in 2012.

By Amanda Huber

Peanut Extension specialists can point to very few problems with the 2012 crop. With harvest continuing under mostly favorable conditions, it was obvious the good weather and lack of significant, yield-robbing disease pressure means that warehouses will be busting at the seams from this crop.
The Southwest was more than glad to see a break in their drought.
Even though we struggled with heat and drought this summer our crop is a lot better than last year, says Chad Godsey Oklahoma State University Extension agronomist.
“I would anticipate an average to slightly above average yield for most producers. I think we will have quite a few fields make over 4,000 pounds per acre.”
Godsey says the biggest difference between last year and this year is that the high heat did not start as early this year, and the result was a lot better early set.

“We really had no major pest problems this year and disease has been minimal because of low humidity much of the summer. Overall, it looks like it will be an excellent peanut year in Oklahoma,” he says.

Bad Year For White Mold

Rome Ethredge, University of Georgia Extension coordinator for Seminole County, says it has been a good production year in his area.

“Yields are good, although there are some dry spots and pests have caused losses,” Ethredge says. “Caterpillars tried to eat us out of house and peanut butter again this year. They love to eat peanut leaves.”

As was the case in many peanuts fields, Ethredge says nematodes were a challenge.

“Less choice in nematicides made it worse. Fortunately, we have a nematode-resistant peanut, and I’m hearing good yield and grade reports on the Tifguard variety.”

Ethredge says the peanut variety most planted, Georgia 06G, will turn out well if nematodes and diseases such as white mold are controlled, which, is of course, easier said than done. “Some folks are saying it’s one of the worst peanut white mold years we’ve seen. It seemed to come on a little later, but was bad news in some fields.”

Without a good soilborne disease material, it would have been worse, he adds.

“I also saw more underground white mold than usual. We had damaged pods and pod rot from it in many cases. Often with underground white mold, you can’t tell much of a problem from the top, but when peanuts are dug you can see the mold damage.

“The organism is the same for above and underground mold, but in hot, dry weather, we can often see the underground infections,” Ethredge says.

Investing In Infrastructure

Scott Monfort, South Carolina peanut specialist with Clemson University, says the growing season in his state started off with high temperatures and spotty rain showers, but quickly turned favorable.

“With the season being wetter and cooler than normal for South Carolina, the peanut crop developed without a hitch into one of the best looking peanut crops South Carolina growers have seen in several years,” he says.

Even so, Monfort says, many growers were subjected to aboveaverage soilborne disease problems from cylindrocladium black rot and southern stem rot (white mold) all season long and tomato spotted wilt virus and late leaf spot late in the season.

“Many growers were forced to apply one or two more fungicide applications than normal because of the elevated disease pressure,” he says.

With about half of the crop harvested, Monfort says, reports from growers and peanut buying points were that yields were 10 to 15 percent higher compared to last year with initial grades being in the high 60s to low 70s for Virginia and runner-type peanuts.

South Carolina producers increased acreage in the state to a record 104,995 acres in 2012. Further investment in peanut production in the state could be found in the purchasing of equipment, building of new buying points and the expansion of storage at several existing buying points.

Few Problems To Reduce Yield

In many areas of the Virginia-Carolinas, Maria Balota, assistant professor of crop physiology at the Virginia Tech’s Tidewater research center, says that disease was not as much of a concern this year.

“The majority of acreages are with Bailey and Sugg, and only a few have Phillips, Perry and CHAMPS. In several fields at the research station and at several locations in Virginia and North Carolina, where we have plots this year, disease on CHAMPS, Titan, Phillips, Perry and all other cultivars was hard to find,” she says.

Balota reports less pressure from thrips this year, but a lot more problems with worms and a fertility issue.

“We saw manganese deficiency developing in early to mid-September,” she says. “This was because of too much rain washing away the manganese and too much vine growth requiring more manganese.

“Manganese could have been applied for a third time in mid-to late August to take care of this problem. However, taking into account that a lot of biomass was produced this year holding the green color and only the very young leaves were getting yellow, I believe it was not a problem for yield.”

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