Digging and Predicted Frost Peanut Notes No. 229 2022

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Fields are starting to dry but digging likely will not start back until late this week or over the weekend. The new Frost Advisory was developed by the North Carolina State Climate Office and includes the traditional locations but also has a function that enables you to look at your specific location. The Frost Advisory is supported financially by the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association and the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. This is a great service to the peanut industry and will be a very useful tool as we move into the remainder of October with about 40% of the crop remaining in the field to be dug, and a very high percentage dug and not harvested.

Based on a quick look this morning, I did not see a risk of frost across the peanut belt in North Carolina and Virginia (through Monday, October 10) but it it only Tuesday and things could change. Keep in mind that peanuts need at least 72 hours to dry once they are dug prior to a frost event to avoid freeze damage. The 72 hours is under good drying conditions and would be a few days longer if cloudy conditions exist. Freeze damage results in a major economic loss. This drying time results in shrinkage of kernels through loss of water from the kernel that could freeze (and then thaw). This also creates a layer of insulation between the kernel and the hull.