Early Season Update

We are slowly beginning to warm up and growers are starting to prepare land for the 2013 growing season.  One of the questions we have all asked is “what can we expect in the way of acres this year”.  This is not an easy one to answer.  Based on all of the talk around the breakfast table, it sounds like we will see a 25 to 30% reduction in acres due to the bumper yields and overproduction observed in 2012.  However, the initial numbers that came out from NASS (Estimated – March 28, 2013 NASS) has South Carolina at 90,000 acres in 2013. This seems a little high but who am I to know at this point.  I am conservatively estimating our acres to be in the 70 – 75,000 range. This could change.  So far, contracts have been offered for Virginia and Runner type peanuts with growers signing more Virginia contracts due to the prices.  In talking with many of the growers in the state, it seems like only a small number of Runner contracts have been signed.  All we can hope for is that China and other countries continue to buy our 2012 peanut crop currently in storage and prices go up.

How early can I plant?

Until the last few years, it was recommended to plant no earlier than May 10th due to the threat of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV).  TSWV is still a concern for us in South Carolina; however, the increase in resistance to TSWV in new varieties of both Runner and Virginia types (Bailey and SUGG) have provided growers with added protection against this virus.  Based on research conducted at the Edisto REC, these new varieties can be planted earlier (Late April/Early May) without being negatively impacted by the virus as previous susceptible varieties had been. This does not mean you do not need to use an at-plant insecticide. We still recommend an at-plant insecticide like Thimet.

Other than TSWV and Resistant Varieties, growers need to check soil temperatures before planting in Late April/Early May.  It is recommended for the average 4 inch soil temperature to be 650 degrees or higher with no cold front predicted within a couple of days after planting. Planting seed in soil with soil temperatures less than 650 degrees will only slow germination and emergence which may lead to a loss in final stand.

Early Season Pointers

Each year at this time, growers are faced with a lot of financial and agronomic decisions to make. To help make things a little easier in regard to peanut, I have put together a few reminders and comments for your consideration before and at planting.

  • Soil sample and make needed fertility and lime applications
    • pH 5.8-6.4
    • Nitrogen:  Use no nitrogen in-furrow.  Make sure your liquid in-furrow inoculant stream is applied directly to the bottom of the furrow in good soil moisture.
    • Phosphorus:  Applying 80 lb P2O5/ac at soil test <11 lb/ac or 40 lb at soil test <20 lb/ac is sufficient for peanut, but maintain P and K levels in rotational crops.
    • Potassium: very conservative recommendations:  absolutely none needed above 60 lb/ac soil test (Melich 1); apply 40 lb K2O at 41-60 lb/ac soil test; apply 80 lb at 30-40 lb/ac soil test; apply 100 lb at < 30 lb/ac soil test.
    • Manganese:  At pH 6.0 Mn soil test sufficiency is 8 lb/ac.  Required soil sufficiency level increases 1 lb/ac for every 0.1 increase in pH.
    • Zinc: Prevent toxicity.  If soil test Zn is 6-10 lb, lime to pH 6.2; at 11-20 soil test Zn, lime to pH 6.4; at 21-30 soil test Zn, lime to pH 6.5.
    • Calibrate and clean sprayers and planting equipment
    • Start with a weed free conditions no matter the tillage practices used
      • Strip-till — Burndown weed and cover crop
      • Conventional — tillage and preplant herbicides incorporated
  • At Planting
    • Seeding Rates — A seeding rate of 5 to 6 seed per foot is recommended to establish a uniform stand
    • Be sure to check germination of peanut seed.
    • At-plant insecticide — The labeled Thimet use rate is 5.5 oz/1,000 row ft. which is equivalent to 4.7 lb/ac on 38”, 5.0 lb on 36”, and 6.0 lb on 30” rows.  For twin rows use 3.5 oz/1,000 row ft in each row, which equals 6.0 lb/ac on 38” centers. CruiserMax Peanut will be available in 2013. Be aware that if you use on a moderately resistant variety like Champs or Gregory you will need to apply Orthene shortly after emergence.
    • Use an Bradyrhizobium liquid inoculant
    • Inoculant Rules:
      • Check the flow of inoculant multiple times a day
      • Use only liquid in-furrow inoculants particularly on “new” land.  Granulars & seed treatments are less reliable.
      • Do not expose inoculant  to heat.
      • If inoculant sits in the tank overnight, treat it as plain water and add a fresh batch.
      • Use a minimum of 5 gal water per acre; 8 gal probably better.
      • Make sure the inoculant stream hits exactly in the center of the open furrow, not the dry furrow walls. Tips knocked out of alignment cause yellow peanuts. Trash caught in strip tillage rigs can deflect the inoculant stream.
      • Don’t plant too shallow (less than 1.5”).  Inoculant must hit moist soil or it will die.
      • Do not use chlorinated water.
      • Apply with a steady stream, not a pulsing pump.
      • Twin rows require a full inoculant rate in each row (on new land).
      • On new land, consider using a backup plan – add a half rate of a different brand of liquid inoculant to your first liquid inoculant.
      • Watch what you add to the inoculant water – some additives can reduce viability of the Bradyrhizobium bacteria
  • Starter Fertilizer – applying nitrogen fertilizer to peanut at planting or during the season has not shown any yield advantage unless you have a inoculant failure. Adding nitrogen at-plant can reduce nodulation.
  • CBR Management — Use of Vapam two weeks before planting is the most effective control of CBR.  Proline in-furrow can help in suppressing CBR. Both products are relatively expensive and should only be applied to fields with a history of CBR.

Please feel free to contact me if you need further information or have any questions.

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