Jordan Column April Issue Peanut Grower Magazine Peanut Notes No. 23 2024

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As we move closer to planting, it becomes important to put into place a set of key practices to establish the highest possible yield potential. From a pest management standpoint, we need to consider the pests we have good options for after we plant versus those pests for which we have few if any options available once the crop is planted.

Weeds are a prime example. In the V-C region, we have challenges with dogfennel and marestail in the peanut crop in both reduced and conventional tillage systems. The only herbicide we have in the crop is diclosulam, and this herbicide only provides suppression. It’s critical that control is complete for these weeds before peanuts emerge. In absence of insecticide options, we need to stack things in place to minimize damage from southern corn rootworm. Unless you have the flexibility to leave off fields that are finer textured with relatively poor drainage, the most effective approach for this insect is to plant as early as possible. In the V-C region that is very late April into the first week of May. Pods will be more advanced when rootworms are present in July when we plant early. It’s more difficult for this insect to puncture pods when hulls are more developed. Burrower bug has been a sporadic pest in North Carolina during the past two years. While there are no data that I am aware of to support this, I think planting early might provide a similar advantage against this insect like we see with southern corn rootworm.

If you do plant early, you need a solid plan for thrips suppression. We get significant yield losses in our region if thrips injure peanuts for a prolonged period of time, and we run the risk of greater injury from paraquat when plants have noticeable injury from thrips. This requires a two-shot program. Most folks are applying insecticide in the seed furrow at planting followed by a timely application of acephate. With that said, we have some areas where imidacloprid is struggling to adequately protect peanuts from thrips injury. When coupled with presence of acephate resistance in in thrips in North Carolina, we may be at risk with some of our insecticide choices for this insect. Try to think about what you need to do to suppress thrips to avoid yield loss given some of the potential limitations of insecticides. Additionally, greater suppression of thrips often leads to less tomato spotted wilt. We do have good resistance to this virus in our Virginia market types but we can run into issues if our plant stands are low. Our intensity of spotted wilt is lower than in southeastern states but we can run into significant incidence of disease. Plant enough seed to get five plants per foot of row. This minimizes risk for spotted wilt and thrips.

Seed we plant is treated with fungicide and that allows us to get adequate stands. There is no substitute for an effective seed treatment. On the front end of establishing a peanut stand, it pays to inoculant peanuts for nitrogen fixation. Based on long-term data in North Carolina, the financial return on inoculation through in-furrow application is about 40 to 1 in new ground and 4:1 in rotated ground.

Taking care of problematic weeds, establishing an adequate stand, protecting peanuts from thrips injury during the first month of the season, ensuring biological nitrogen fixation, and stacking things in your favor for insects that might be an issue later in the season are important to do prior to or during planting. Finally, nematodes can certainly be an issue. Hopefully you have information on risk of injury in all of your fields. Fumigation, in-furrow nematicide application, and in-furrow insecticide treatments (aldicarb) have various levels of effectiveness against this pest. But the decision to manage this pest with these options occurs no later than planting.

There is a lot here to digest, but once we plant, much of our yield potential is set. We can make up some ground if our early season decisions and inputs are marginally effective, but the process is much more difficult and it is really challenging and expensive to make up all of the difference.