Peanut Grower Magazine March Column Peanut Notes No. 12 2018
Many farmers will have made arrangements with shellers for the 2018 crop and will have a contract in place. With a contract in hand and decisions on fields for peanut plantings, the question is how can yield and more importantly net return be optimized? How do we get where we want to be at the end of the season? A wise but elusive deer hunter once said, “The secret to getting the big one is to get there one hour before he does.” Being in the right place requires a lot of planning and effort. If one considers “the big one” as a peanut crop that generates optimum net returns, careful planning, hard work and ability to adjust quickly are critical. One of our major concerns at the present time for peanut (and other crops too) is evolved resistance to pesticides in insect, pathogen, and weed populations. We have several important pesticides across each of these pest disciplines (entomology, plant pathology, weed science) that are suspect when it comes to presence of resistance. We need all of the tools in our tool box to control pests in peanut and protect yields. The key to managing resistant populations already in place or to decrease the likelihood that pest populations will develop resistance is to reduce selection pressure. One way to do this is to use mixtures or sequential applications of pesticides with different modes of action. Do we have non-chemical strategies for insects, pathogens and weeds? Yes we do. But incorporating alternative practices into production systems can be a challenge due to expense, logistics and predictability. Control practices other than pesticides can help reduce populations, and while pesticides will still be needed, alternative approaches can eliminate some individuals in the population may be resistant to pesticides. Pesticides almost always deliver a positive return on the investment – but we need to do other things to help them remain effective. Our challenge going forward is to make sure we consider pesticides as resources, and that these resources are vital for profitable peanut production. This requires developing effective strategies that include a solid resistance management strategy. Like the pursuit of the big one, planning and working hard are essential to protect resources (including pesticides). This will ultimately help us optimize net returns with peanut.