Planting During the Week of May 4 Peanut Notes No. 42 2020

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Questions about Planting this Week (May 4)

I have had 8 calls since Sunday morning about planting this week. Here is a summary of my answers:

  1. Yields are generally the highest when we plant in mid-May rather than early or late May (and certainly June.) This is a reason to delay planting until the week of May 11. This trend is often observed even when conditions are more favorable in early May than what we are going to experience during the next week or so.
  2. The general rule is soil needs to be 65 F for 3 days in a row, at a 4-inch depth, around noon each day. Conditions should be favorable for the next 72 hours.
  3. Once soils warm in the spring they tend to stay relatively warm (unlike air temperatures that experience considerable fluctuation).
  4. Peanut planted in beds in conventional tillage will likely have less stress because soil will be warmer.
  5. Strip till and no till are more vulnerable because soils are likely cooler and wetter.
  6. Fungicide seed treatments are essential (commercial seed comes with seed treatments) in protecting seedlings that are trying to emerge under poor conditions.
  7. If seed quality is poor, planting should be delayed until warmer conditions exist (my understanding is that most certified seed is in good order this year.)
  8. I have planted peanuts under conditions similar to this and ultimately made a stand – but it took 3 weeks and the third week was very stressful waiting or the peanuts to emerge.
  9. Seed is the single most expensive input.
  10. If fields have to be replanted, you will need to re-apply systemic insecticide for thrips and inoculant for nitrogen fixation.
  11. If moisture is adequate, plant more shallow than normal. But no less than 2 inches.
  12. As peanuts struggle to emerge they also may grow out of thrips injury more slowly. Be ready to apply insecticide after peanuts emerge if thrips are an issue.
  13. There is some concern that high oleic peanuts can have more issues emerging under cooler conditions. That has not been evaluated in NC to a great degree but it is something to think about. This is another reason to delay some of your plantings until the week of May 11. Bailey (not Bailey II) has the normal fatty acid profile and therefor concern about this variety planted under poor conditions is likely lower.
  14. We all have logistical issues. We have to get started sometime with the acreage we have (or research plots – but part of what we do is take risks to learn without a personal economic loss – real farming is different.)
  15. Waiting until the week of May 11 would be a good idea.