Peanut Grower Magazine Column April Peanut Notes No. 21 2020
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Many states had high yields for the 2019 growing season. Even though some areas of V-C Region had dry conditions during the summer, overall yields were close to record levels. This was due in part to an excellent harvest season, especially in September and early October. Growers that enter the peanut production contest in North Carolina complete a survey of their production practices. Over the years, several themes develop as major contributions to the success of the production approaches on their operations. As expected, weather emerges as a key factor, and farmers are quick to recognize that this is important and that they are fortunate when this uncontrollable factor lines up well with what the peanut crop needs. Top growers are often producing peanut on land that would be considered ideal for peanut production. They also indicate that establishing an adequate peanut stand, in some cases higher than the general recommendation, is a part of the successful equation. There are few if any gaps in stands in these grower’s fields.
Most of the top growers invest in intensive pest management strategies – their peanut crop is well protected. Almost all growers point to timeliness of their management and the practices they put in place. They have the equipment and the focus to plant, protect, and harvest peanuts in a timely manner at each step along the way. Applying insecticides to control thrips and other insect pests, and if necessary miticides to control spider mites before they get out of hand, are important to do in a timely manner, and these growers do this well. With respect to weeds, top growers have effective herbicide programs at planting that give them time to apply postemergence herbicides to small weeds. This limits interference with peanuts early in the season and keeps them from needing to make follow up applications of herbicides when the weeds get bigger or when they are controlled less effectively. Their fungicide programs are not excessive but they are complete, and they maintain an effective schedule with diverse chemistries so they get optimum protection from leaf spot occurs.
Most of the top growers have their digging and harvesting equipment in line with acreage, and this allows them to let peanuts reach optimum maturity before digging, and when they are ready to dig, they can complete this operation quickly with limited pod loss.
These farmers demonstrate the importance of observing and taking care of details, and this approach is something we can all learn from for our peanut production systems.