Planting in Old Pasture Area Peanut Notes No. 33 2019

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Recently I spoke with a farmer who picked up significant acreage that was in pasture for about 10 years. The major question the farmer had was related to zinc toxicity (animal waste most likely was applied to this field while in pasture.)  The farmer sampled multiple areas of the field and the zinc levels were below the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services index level of 250 for zinc (250 or above is risky for peanut.)  The farmer also indicated that pH will be in the optimum range of around 6.0. With the zinc issue addressed, this field is essentially a new ground field, and the most important input will be inoculant for biological nitrogen fixation. The farmer indicated that a liquid product would be used, most likely at a high rate. It is often easier to keep track of delivery with a liquid application compared with granular application in the seed furrow while planting (although both approaches can be effective.)  My suggestion in new ground is that in addition to a liquid or granular product applied in the seed furrow, growers should apply a peat-based material with the seed. This is insurance in case something happens with the in-furrow application. The hopper-box treatment is delivered less uniformly than the in-furrow treatments but it can “fill in” just in case something happens to the inoculant applied as a spray or granular. It is very expensive to correct a nitrogen deficiency in peanut. This new ground setting is ideal to optimize yield and perhaps have lower input costs for disease and perhaps even weeds. But adequate performance of inoculant for BNF is a must.