April Article Sent to Peanut Grower Magazine – 2015
During May there are many things going on. Most peanut growers are very diverse in their cropping systems and planting and other field operations can make May and early June challenging. It never hurts to double check calibrations for seeding rate and depth as well as in-furrow and broadcast sprays. We need 4-5 plants per foot of row for Virginia market types and planting to moisture is important. Error on the side of planting deep (the opposite rule of thumb compared with cotton) to make sure soil moisture is adequate for germinating seed and for protection from high soil temperatures for in-furrow inoculants necessary for nitrogen fixation. Make sure in-furrow sprays are reaching the seed. If soil caves in after seed drop and before delivery of spray the insecticide and inoculant will never reach the place they need to be. Make sure granular insecticide, primarily Phorate or Thimet, is applied at the correct rate. While peanut will ultimately be fine, phyto from these materials can be painfully obvious on sandy soils with little organic matter. Make sure broadcast spray equipment is delivering what you think it is. If not, control might be less than you desire or crop injury and expense may be more than you desire. Check your math one more time. Sprayers can cover a lot of ground in a hurry and it doesn’t take much to make a mistake. About 15 years ago I sprayed a number of research trials at 20 GPA but mixed using a 15 GPA spray sheet. I had above-average weed control and peanut injury and had to find new space on the research stations to do the trials again. A good friend of mine once told me that “there’s never enough time to do it right but there’s always enough time to do it over.” For those making a living off of farming, economically the stakes are certainly higher than finding another area on a research station to repeat a trial with the right calibration. The things we do at and around planting are critical and set the stage for the remainder of the season. And always always be as safe as possible around the equipment and crop protection materials you use.
Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2015-019)