Jordan Peanut Grower Magazine April Issue Peanut Notes No. 36 2022
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As we move into April with an eye toward May, several key elements of peanut production come to mind. First, is seed quality where we need it to be? Generally, in the V-C region of the US seed quality is good and thus far, we have not experienced issues with the performance of fungicide seed treatments. Obtaining 4-5 plants per foot of row is critical to optimize yield (this requires about 4 to 6 seed per foot of row when considering 80% germination.)
Planting date is also an important consideration. In North Carolina, we generally have our greatest yield when we plant in the middle of May. In doing so we often avoid the highest infestation of thrips, which can also help us minimize tomato spotted wilt. With that said, given we will not have chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) to suppress southern corn rootworm, we are encouraging growers with high-risk fields to consider planting early (late April and first week of May.) This can result in peanuts having shells that are more developed and with less chance of puncturing when larvae feed on pods. We suspect that about 25% of the peanut acreage in North Carolina carries some risk to damage from southern corn rootworm, but we have a lower percentage (of the 25%) that is at high risk for yield loss. Of course, in any given year we are not sure of how many adults will enter a field, or the duration of the infestation across the growing season. In addition, we do not know how much rain will occur and how frequent it will be. Both of these can affect the length of time larvae survive in fields and feed on peanuts. With that said, we do need to adjust practices to minimize risk in high-risk fields. To figure out risk for fields, refer to 2022 Peanut Information to see the risk index for southern corn rootworm. In short, fields that are finer-textured in nature that are poorly drained present our greatest risk. Moreover, if those fields are irrigated, the risk can be high. For these fields, planting early is the best option to hedge your bets against damage (if you absolutely need these fields for peanut production.)
If you decide to plant early (regardless of risk to southern corn rootworm), you will need to stay on top of thrips management to avoid injury from this insect and also to minimize incidence of tomato spotted wilt. Our recommendation for early planting is to establish five plants per foot (planting 6 seed) and applying an effective systemic in-furrow insecticide. Phorate (Thimet), AgLogic, and imidacloprid products can provide good suppression of thrips. Nevertheless, early planting can result in peanuts emerging during the peak flight of thrips. If there is an inkling of concern over performance of systemic in-furrow insecticides, applying acephate within the first three weeks after peanuts begin to emerge can be extremely helpful. Be on the watch for less than ideal performance by imidacloprid products. We have seen these products perform inconsistently over the past five years in trials that Rick Brandenburg and Brian Royals have conducted across North Carolina. If injury is observed, the sooner acephate is applied the more quickly peanuts can recover.
Finally, in North Carolina, we have about 30% of our peanut production in reduced tillage. It is critical to have clean seedbeds when peanuts are emerging. Winter and summer weeds need to be controlled to give peanuts time to become established without interference from weeds. Keep in mind some winter weeds and emerged summer weeds are resistant to glyphosate. A mixture of glyphosate with 2,4-D applied one month before planting is a good start. Paraquat applied close to planting and before peanuts emerge is essential in controlling glyphosate-resistant biotypes. As all of you know, establishing an adequate stand of peanuts in a clean seedbed in May goes a long way toward realizing optimum yields in the fall.