Jordan Column Peanut Grower Magazine April Peanut Notes No. 28 2023

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As we move into April we know that planting is just around the corner. My columns may seem repetitive. I’m certainly guilty of that. But in a short article it’s important to get to the core elements, and with peanut production, some of those have remained the same overtime. Based on the current southern corn rootworm index for the V-C region and in particular North Carolina, the most probable way you can minimize damage from this insect pest is to plant early. The reason this is somewhat effective is because pods tend to be more developed when this insect becomes an issue in soil in July and August. A stronger hull limits the insect’s ability to puncture pods. If you do plant early, in part to avoid southern corn rootworm, make sure you have an effective thrips control program in place. We often need more than one insecticide treatment for thrips in the upper V-C region, especially when we plant early. This will be the case if you are using imidacloprid. This insecticide is less effective now in controlling thrips than it was five or so years ago. Peanuts are also slower growing when planted early, and we often experience higher populations of thrips in early May. Keep in mind that we are also at greater risk for TSWV when we plant early. Thrips are the vector for this virus. If planting early, in addition to effective insecticide treatments for thrips, make sure you establish 4-5 plants/foot of row across the entire field. This is a buffer against TSWV. Consider using Phorate/Thimet if you plant early.

Weed control starts early with either effective tillage or burndown herbicides. Overlapping residuals play an important role in weed management. Investment early in the season is often more effective than spending the same amount of money cleaning up fields later in the season. If possible, incorporate a DNA herbicide and apply a Group 15 (usually Dual Magnum) with Valor right behind the plant. In a few weeks you will likely need to apply a contact herbicide (Gramoxone plus Basagran) with another residual herbicide (often a Group 15.) This approach takes a lot of pressure off of the PPO inhibitors as we move through the remainder of the season. It also helps us control ALS-resistant weeds that are in many of our fields.

In North Carolina we have used imidacloprid for many years. While there is concern about having more spotted wilt when this insecticide is used, in our region the level of spotted wilt has been low enough and the resistance within our varieties good enough to have allowed this use pattern. Unfortunately, thrips control with imidacloprid has dropped dramatically over the past five years. For this reason, growers need to use care when applying Gramoxone if peanuts have significant damage from thrips. You will need to correct the thrips issue before applying Gramoxone. Applying acephate with Gramoxone can help but not before the damage from Gramoxone and thrips take their toll. Always add Basagran when applying Gramoxone.

We recommend that you establish 4 to 5 plants per foot of row. If planting early, I would make sure I had 5 plants across the field for tomato spotted wilt management. When it comes to in-furrow products, outside of a systemic insecticide and inoculant for nitrogen fixation, ask questions about the potential impact on peanut emergence and stand establishment before you use something. There can be issues.

To optimize yields we need to have a good start. Starting clean with no weeds, minimizing thrips injury and making sure you have 4-5 plants is an outstanding start. Don’t forget that if you are in new ground or have been out of peanuts in a field for many years, inoculating for nitrogen fixation will be your most important input. We see a positive response to inoculant even in rotated fields, but inoculating peanut in new ground is critical.