Planting Peanuts in April Peanut Notes No. 41 2023

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Some farmers are planting peanuts now. Temperatures have been warm but there have certainly been swings. Seed quality and presence of fungicide on seed impact stand establishment. My hope is that early-planted peanuts make a good stand. It may take several weeks for peanuts to emerge. If you plant early, do not panic if you do not see emergence for up to three weeks. I have seen that before with early May plantings. I continue to believe, based on our planting date work that the best planting date for peanuts is around the middle of May. However, I also know farms are large with many acres and crops. That explains early planting in many cases.

Planting early can leave you less vulnerable to southern corn rootworm but more vulnerable to tomato spotted wilt and the insect (thrips) that vectors the virus. I would plant a seeding rate on the high side if going early and have a dependable insecticide program for thrips. It could take well into May to establish an adequate stand, and during much of that time thrips populations are high. If you are applying imidacloprid products (Admire Pro or generics,) make sure you are ready to spray acephate as soon as you need to. AgLogic and Thimet are providing more consistent control now compared with imidacloprid. Vydate is an option. Thrips control was good across trials in 2022. I have not looked at all the data, but in the trial I had in 2022, Vydate was more effective than Admire Pro but less effective than Thimet. We will conducting more trials in 2023. Just make sure you are ready with an acephate spray regardless of what you use in the seed furrow. If you are planting early (or any planting date) and relying on foliar sprays for thrips control, you will need to be ready to spray just as soon as most of the peanuts have emerged. Then you will need to follow up with a second spray 10-14 days later once all the peanuts are up. We generally need two sprays to get adequate suppression of thrips. In-furrow followed by postemergence or two well-timed postemergence sprays. Thimet is the best option for spotted wilt suppression. Imidacloprid is the least effective option. Data in the southeastern states clearly shows higher levels of spotted wilt when imidacloprid is used. Historically, we have been fortunate in that our varieties offer good resistance and we have been planting in mid-May with adequate seeding rates. Planting in April will stress this.

My biggest concern about planting this early is if we get cool weather over the next three weeks and wet weather. That could affect stands in major way. I also worry about tomato spotted wilt if we get stands that are lower than what we need. From a spotted wilt standpoint, low plant populations during the time when thrips populations are at their peak (early to mid-May) creates significant risk for spotted wilt. We do have good resistance in Bailey II and Sullivan for spotted wilt but they are susceptible if populations are low and thrips populations are high. Emery is more susceptible to spotted wilt than Bailey II or Sullivan. We do not have a good handle on Walton, but I suspect it would have relatively good resistance to spotted wilt. Runners from the southeastern US (that is where they were developed) likely have good spotted wilt resistance. We have some Valencia peanuts going in. They are likely susceptible to spotted wilt and the diseases we have in our region. I would not rush to plant these. They mature earlier than Virginia and runner market types.

Hope this helps as you make planting decisions.