Peanut Grower Magazine Comments for April
One of the key issues growers will face in May is ensuring fields are free of weeds when peanuts emerge and that either peanut are protected from thrips injury. Establishing an adequate stand (4-5 plants/foot of row for Virginia market types) and making sure inoculant is placed in the seed furrow appropriately are also critical.
If stands are poor and inoculant does not perform (especially on new ground) the impact on yield is essentially “uncorrectable”. While many production and pest management practices can be corrected when something negative happens, “fixing” a peanut stand or inoculation failure is almost impossible or at the very least very expensive. A second batch of seed and nitrogen used to correct inoculation problem in new ground take much of the profit out of growing peanuts.
Soil temperature and moisture play a major role in getting a good stand and increasing the survival of bacteria in commercial inoculants. Peanuts are resilient in that they can emerge from substantial depths, so growers in rain-fed environments are encouraged to plant deep (2-3 inches.) This also helps ensure that bacteria in the inoculant survive hot soils in May and early June. Replanting or applying nitrogen so that peanuts “can catch” up can lead to major problems in the fall when wet soils slow operations and frost can occur. Although most growers already realize these things can be an issue, a reminder to get the crop up and going with an adequate stand and nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the right place sets the stage for success later in the season.
Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2014-029)