Peanut Grower Magazine Column Jordan Peanut Notes No. 24 2019

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As we move into late May in the Virginia-Carolina region there are a number of things that need to be done. As one checks off the list, field (and the previous rotation), tillage system, variety selection, preplant burndown or preplant incorporated herbicides, preemergence herbicides, inoculant, and in-furrow systemic insecticide treatments are in place. Timely application of postemergence herbicides and insecticide to suppress thrips if they are present is next on the list. Hopefully everyone has 5 plants per foot of row and peanuts are growing well in a pest-free environment, at least for now. It is likely that most folks will apply herbicides 3 times after peanuts emerge, and one of those applications generally involves paraquat, Basagran and residual herbicides. The critical period of weed interference is generally 3-6 weeks after planting for many of our crops, including peanuts. Keeping peanuts weed-free during May and into June helps establish optimum yield potential, at least with respect to the impact of weeds. As we plan for the next steps, outside of weed control (and thrips clean up) we often find ourselves in late May and June with limited just a bit of down time during the first 30 to 45 days after planting. This is a good time to think ahead and develop plans related to gypsum and southern corn rootworm.

The next column in this magazine will come out well into June, and in my view if gypsum is already out that is on the early side. As climate change gets debated in some circles, I feel like I have observed, and the weather data back this up to a degree, more intense rainfall events in June during the past couple of years compared to a decade or so ago. The concern about these rainfall events, with respect to gypsum, is that the product can get washed from the tops rows (when peanuts are small.)  And, when we get a big rain right after gypsum is put out what should we do – have lost enough to need to reapply? One way to minimize risk is to let the peanuts get bigger and cover more of the fruiting zone. Peanut plants serve as a cushion and decrease some of the impact of intense and heavy rains on soil movement, especially on the edges of beds where some pegs will eventually form. Peanuts do not need gypsum until well into July when pegs are growing into definable pods.

How about planting dates and replanting? In 2018 we had a substantial amount of peanuts planted in North Carolina in early to mid-June (perhaps 20%) and in many cases they did well. We were fortunate in that we had adequate water in many of those areas through the latter part of the summer, and on average we had 4 to 5 more heat units than the 10-year average during August, September and a part of October to really push the crop forward. I wouldn’t bet on that coming together again, so trying hard to plant in May, preferably mid-May continues to the best approach. With respect to replanting – I wouldn’t encourage someone to destroy what is out there if you have a poor stand. If you have 3 or less plants per foot of row, a replant is warranted (plant 5 seed per foot if you only have 1 plant, 4 seed per foot if you have 2 plants, and 3 seed per foot if you have 3 plants.)   If you have more than 3 plants per foot I would not plant more seed. This can be a difficult decision.