University of Georgia peanut research is continuing to show an undeniable advantage to planting in twin-rows versus single-rows. In regional tests, twin-row peanuts have outyielded single-row peanuts 12 out of 12 times in conventional plantings. In strip-tillage systems, twin-rows held the advantage in 11 of 12 tests.

“Most of this is due to a reduced incidence of tomato spotted wilt virus disease in twin-rows,” said University of Georgia Research Technician John Paulk, speaking at the recent Sunbelt Expo Field Day in Moultrie, Ga.

One more step

And researchers are taking it one step further than twin-rows, says Paulk. “We're looking at some six-row plantings, with an outside row planted at 36 inches, the next end is 23 inches and the inside rows are at 10 inches. We reduced tomato spotted wilt virus even further in this system, but the planting scheme isn't as easy to dig as twin-row peanuts. We saw some yield increase, and we saw a significant increase in grade with this system,” he says.

Researchers also continue to look at strip-tillage systems for peanuts as a means of reducing the incidence of tomato spotted wilt, says Paulk.

Any grower who is considering switching from conventional to strip-tillage should start early, he advises. “This shouldn't be done at the last minute. You need to start at least during the fall before you intend to plant strip-till. Fertility and soil pH should be stabilized, and you should fix any washes or bad areas in the field. We need a level field for planting.

“This is not to say that the field must be level with no grade to it. One of the primary benefits of strip-tillage is the reduction in soil erosion,” he says.

“Kill the cover crop three to four weeks prior to planting with paraquat or glyphosate. You might want to use 2,4-D to kill wild radish, wild turnip or cutleaf evening primrose. Kill any winter weeds that may be in the field.”

Growers also are advised to identify any potential weed problems, he adds. “In a strip-till system, we're somewhat limited in what we can do for weeds. We need to water in preplant herbicides because we don't have the option of incorporating,” says Paulk.

Wheat, oats or rye may be considered as a cover crop for strip-tillage peanuts, he says. Wheat generally is preferred because it's easier to work with, he adds.

“If you drill in the cover crop, drill diagonally to your rows. Don't drill right with the rows. You get better seed-to-soil contact when you drill across. Or, you can broadcast or harrow in the cover crop in the fall.

“Kill the cover crop three to four weeks prior to planting with paraquat or glyphosate. You might want to use 2,4-D to kill wild radish, wild turnip or cutleaf evening primrose. Kill any winter weeds that may be in the field.”

Good advice

Growers shouldn't kill wheat before the boot stage, he says. “If you kill it before the boot stage, you won't have any stalk. It'll just lay down and go to nothing because most of the leaves are 90 percent water. But you don't want to leave the cover so long that you get wheat, oats or rye seed coming up in the field.”

Growers should know how many passes to make in their fields to prepare the ground properly, says Paulk. It could be one or two passes, but it's different for each situation, he says.

Many equipment options now are available for growers who convert to strip-tillage, he says. “Equipment manufacturers have many different options in strip-till rigs. You can vary the type and number of coulters. There also are different types of rollers for the back of the rig. And, some growers use press wheels to firm up the seedbed.


e-mail: phollis58@mindspring.com