Here are some images of peanut development from a few days ago in the planting date trial at Lewiston. Pod development looks very similar for the first two planting dates (May 4 and May 24) and this is generally reflected in similar yields across these planting dates when peanut are dug based on optimum maturity. Certainly it would be better to get them out earlier but in many cases a three week difference in planting narrows down a great deal by the time we get to late September. The June 4 peanuts are way behind the earlier plantings and based on previous work they will not catch up completely. Yield will be about 80% of yield when one plants timely. So, the bad news is a loss of 20% yield if peanuts look like this right now (late planted.) The somewhat good news is that if you have fields that have the capacity to yield well (in our case at Lewiston this field will consistently yield 4500 pounds/acre) you are down to 3600 pounds/acre. Based on costs per acre of $900, you are still at a net return of $325/acre at a price of $700/ton (see table 1-6 in 2012 Peanut Information). More is better but $325 is not so bad.
These peanuts do not look great because it was so dry in June and into early July. But they will make great strides from this point forward with the water they have received up to this point in July.
Image 1 – May 4
Image 2 – May 24
Image 3 – June 4
Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2012-048)