Good Afternoon,The peanut crop continues to grow without hesitation except for the areas where rain has been limited. Overall, the crop is holding up well with a large portion of the early-mid May planted acres lapped and in peak bloom. I commend all of our growers for their hard work and efforts in getting the crop off to a good start. Hopefully, Mother Nature will be nice to us in August.
In my trips through the state this week, I have noticed an increase in foliage feeders and southern stem rot (white mold) activity. I encourage everyone to walk your peanut fields at least once a week for disease and insect issues. Also, there are a few weed escapes out there which need another shot of an herbicide and/or weed pullers. Another thing to remember when scouting your fields is correct identification of disease and insects. Incorrect identification could cost you more from applying the wrong chemical or applying a chemical when not warranted.
For example, Southern Stem Rot (white mold) is one of the most destructive soilborne diseases in peanut and is managed through fungicides every year. However, there is a similar looking fungus commonly observed in reduced tillage systems called False White Mold (Phanerochaete)which does not cause damage to the plant. In the early stages of the False White Mold it is hard to tell the difference between it and Southern Stem Rot (both produce white fungal mycelia that grows on the ground and on the limbs of the plant). The difference comes later as the False White Mold fungus ages and produces orange colored structures (See Picture Below).
You can also scrape the white mycelium away from the peanut stem and see if there is any plant tissue damage underneath. If the stem tissue is still green and unharmed it is more than likely False White Mold. I mention this because I have received several calls regarding an explosion of white mold in several fields that turned out to be False White Mold. Please give me a call if you need help identifying any of the diseases or just want me to take a look at your peanuts.