VC Peanut Overview (May 9 2015)

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Many growers in the Virginia-Carolina (V-C) region have started planting operations including primary and secondary tillage and bed preparation (Figures 1-3). Conditions during the week of May 4-9 were very good in the upper V-C region (Virginia and central and northeastern NC) with rainfall from a low pressure system possibly having adverse impact on field operations in the lower V-C (southeastern NC and South Carolina). The system most likely will impact the entire region moving into the week of May 11. Air temperatures have warmed considerably during the past week and were in the mid 80s (F) during much of the week of May 4-9. This was considerably warmer than the previous week. Thus far no major issues have occurred for field operations, and while soil moisture may have started to become limited in fields due to relatively intense primary and secondary tillage, rainfall the weekend of May 9 and into the following week could restore some of soil moisture that has been lost. However, the final movement of the storm is unknown as of May 9 and rainfall accumulation from the storm. No major pest issues have been reported and growers planting into reduced tillage have been able to apply preplant herbicides in a timely manner. Growers applying fumigant for Cylindrocladium black rot (CBR) were delayed in mid-April but have been able to prepare beds now and should be able to plant the week of May 11 without hesitation. Challenges with early season weeds and thrips populations will not be known until the peanut crop begins to emerge in mid-May.

NASS indicates that acreage in North and South Carolina will be 94,000 (38,000 ha) and 115,000 (46,500 ha), respectively, with acreage in Virginia being 20,000 (8,100 ha). The total acreage for the V-C region in 2015 is projected to be 229,000 acres (92,600 ha). This estimate may be high given the relatively low contract price of Virginia market types. However, prices for other crops are not as strong as in previous years, and this could make peanut attractive, especially relative to corn and grain sorghum and possibly cotton. Soybean prices are modest but production costs and risk are much lower for soybean than for peanut. In the V-C region, production costs (fixed and variable costs, excluding land rent) are estimated at $200/acre ($494/ha) for soybean, $525/acre (1,297/ha) for corn, $650/acre (1,610/ha) for cotton, and $900/acre (2,223/ha) for peanut.

Estimates of differences in planted acres for Virginia and runner market types are somewhat unclear. The Virginia market type Bailey will most likely capture 80% of plantings in the region for this market type. Runner market types will compose approximately half of the acreage in South Carolina and less than 10% of the acreage in North Carolina and Virginia. Yield estimates, baring extremes in weather, are estimated to be 4,000 pounds/acre (4,480 kg/ha).

Application of herbicide prior to secondary tillage and planting

Figure 1. Application of herbicide prior to secondary tillage and planting.

Field receiving metam sodium for CBR control during the bedding process.

Figure 2. Field receiving metam sodium for CBR control during the bedding process.

Standard tractor and planter ready for field operations.

Figure 3. Standard tractor and planter ready for field operations.

Article first appeared as North Carolina Peanut Note (PNNC-2015-034)