April Column Jordan Peanut Notes No. 20 2019

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By this point in the spring decisions on acreage and field selection have likely been made. Past history of production in these fields can inform us on what to expect in terms of presence of pests and how we need to keep injury caused by these pests below economic injury levels.

In the Virginia-Carolina region it is almost guaranteed that weed and thrips populations will be well above economic injury levels if we don’t treat for these, and in fact, it often takes more than one application of pesticides to suppress these pests. For weeds, overlapping applications of residual herbicides is recommended within the first month of the season (preplant burndown or preplant incorporated, preemergence right after planting, early postemergence with paraquat plus Basagran) to make sure the impact of the first flush of weeds is minimized. Because most growers in the Virginia-Carolina region are dryland producers, overlapping residuals (making multiple applications of herbicides so that adequate concentrations of residual herbicides are maintained in soil) stacks things in our favor for getting activating rainfall. The first weed flush after conventional tillage is often the biggest (if we don’t disturb the soil later in the season with cultivation). Having adequate residual herbicide in the soil for suppression of that flush is important for success.

Likewise, peanuts emerging in May in the Virginia-Carolina region can grow slowly in some years and this leaves plants vulnerable to thrips feeding and possible reductions in yield. Thrips can hammer away at yield potential if left uncontrolled and they can also transmit tomato spotted virus to more plants in the field. Systemic insecticides are a must to protect yields in our neck of the woods. Suppression of both weeds and thrips serve as a foundation for success as the season progresses. We currently have a good assortment of products to use for both groups of pests (weeds or thrips/spotted wilt.)

No matter what products you use or what your expectations are on performance, scout early and often in the early stages of the growth cycle so that follow up treatments can be made in a timely manner if needed. Getting behind, for both the peanut crop and the grower, makes for a long and challenging season.