Very few peanuts have been dug across the V-C region at this point although next week many farmers will begin to dig. Rainfall has been limited in some areas across the region and drought stress is showing in some fields. Low levels of spider mites have developed in some places. Peanut response to dry weather has been exacerbated by limited root systems as a result of wet conditions in June and July across much of the region. However, many of the saturated soils have dried over the past month which has allowed peanut in those pockets to recover (Images 1 and 2). These areas will yield less but may contribute to sound mature kernels during harvest. Fields are relatively clean with respect to disease with pod load relatively good across the region (Images 3-5). Some fields have become dry enough that digging may be a challenge (Image 6). Although most peanuts are in fields with soils that are sandy, some pockets in these fields and fields that have a finer texture can be cloddy under dry conditions which can increase pod loss. Temperatures have been slightly cooler than normal, especially at night, with temperatures occasionally in the low 50s. This has slowed pod maturation. For example, pod maturity has changed at a much slower rate than expected (Images 7-10).
As mentioned in the last report, “a critical aspect of yield and grades for the 2013 peanut crop will be weather through September and into early October. There is some concern that a late maturing crop will be susceptible to cooler temperatures that further delay maturation.” This continues to be the case, with the next three weeks of weather absolutely critical for the crop. Pod maturity clinics have revealed that maturity is about the same as the previous year. However, weather conditions in 2013 were near perfect for digging and temperatures higher than normal to allow continued pod maturation into October.
Total acreage in the V-C is estimated at 175,000 acres. Yield estimate is 3600 pounds per acre, off considerably from 2012.
Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2013-080)