Dan Anco V-C News Peanut Notes No. 37 2020

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2020 – the number of this year A.D. and a moniker for balanced and healthy vision. Clear vision, in the wisdom sense of the term, does not necessary mean being able to visually distinguish observational details at specified distances, particularly in an age where it is cautioned we cannot believe everything seen. In truth, that caution partly depends on the direction our eyes are indeed seeing. As spoken years ago, it is better to enter into life with one good eye than to allow two ill-seeing eyes to bring about destruction through retaining their potential to seek temporary distraction. Strong words typed from atop a soft swivel chair, but words of good news nonetheless.

In other good news, South Carolina peanut acres are projected to trend upward this year. Given the wild ride some things and some of us have been on in these past times, an upward trajectory across the board is a good thing! Going upward is a natural part of spring, and spring is classically a time of new life. Seed are planted in the ground with all their potential and work their way upward to reach life-giving light to kick off the rest of the growing process. It can sometimes be hard to know exactly what each year will bring, aside from looking at our field histories and comparing notes from past production years, and covering the bases for the routine items. Examples there include weeds, nutrients and inoculant, thrips, tomato spotted wilt, and leaf spot. Steps taken early to manage these often are most helpful, alongside managing our peanut for overall crop health, with natural specific fits there including planting dates near early/mid-May, planting enough seed to get an emerged stand count of at least 4 plants per row, cultivar resistance, and in-furrow protection. The quality cultivars that are being developed continue to improve over their predecessors with yield potential, and excellent strides are being made to further incorporate resistance, drought tolerance, flavor, and more, alongside this productivity.

All this to say there is an amazing amount of potential in seed, with more continually being added. Potential is a powerful thing, and not to get on too lengthy of a tangent, but potential itself brings the possibility for value. Whether or not that possibility is realized depends on the environment and related factors. Like when Wiley Coyote tries to drop an anvil on the Roadrunner, the anvil has a lot of potential energy when it has a long way to fall. Once on the ground (or on Wiley Coyote’s head), that potential is used. If the trap is never sprung, the heavy energy of the anvil remains in place, present, yet not utilized. Back to the world of peanuts, Thimet applied in-furrow has potential to suppress thrips and reduce tomato spotted wilt, though the utilization of that potential depends on how much infection pressure actually occurs. Of course, there are alternative tactics that can be integrated to similarly build up TSW suppression potential, but Thimet nonetheless remains an effective tool. Two great systems are in place to help us see how the combination of different production factors contribute to overall disease risk, including the Peanut Risk Tool (hosted by NC State University) and Peanut Rx (hosted by UGA). I encourage you to give these a try.

Still harping on the idea of potential, for three years now we have observed a significant potential for Thimet applied in-furrow at planting to suppress leaf spot development. The line graphs included here are from tests at Blackville where no in-season fungicides were applied. Even so, it can also be seen that while late leaf spot disease did not begin to cause defoliation until more than 79 days after planting, in each case peanut treated with Thimet had significantly less defoliation compared to nontreated checks, roughly about half. Yield response was more variable, but the overall relationship of leaf spot and corresponding pod yield loss suggested Thimet application to have an average net economic yield savings potential, due to the potential to suppress leaf spot defoliation, near $36 to 48/acre (after accounting for the product cost). Not half bad for something added back at planting that also helps manage thrips and TSW. This defoliation suppression comes from a lasting activation of defense responses within the peanut. The practical implication of this defense activation is that it adds another avenue to manage development of fungicide resistance for leaf spot, something beneficial to the gamut of effective fungicides currently available. With the potential for uncertainty with future EU changes to current fungicide MRLs, the quote from Benjamin Franklin is not so out of place to say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

May the year to come both bring good potential and have us see that good potential realized.