The top peanut producers in Virginia and North Carolina may farm in different states, but they share common practices that make them champions.

At the business session of the Champions' Night Out in Raleigh last month, state peanut specialists from the two states shared the production practices of the top growers.

Growers from North Carolina and Virginia listed timeliness as the most important reason for their success, said David Jordan, North Carolina State University peanut specialist, and Charles Swann, Virginia Tech peanut specialist.

In fact, the two champions from North Carolina and Virginia — Wade Byrd and Sammy Cox — believe timeliness leads to top yields.

Swann points to a 1,442 pound average yield difference in Virginia between those top growers and the state average in 2000.

Rotation and disease control also topped the list of successful practices.

Planting dates in Virginia ranged from April 27 to May 25, with the majority falling in the window from May 10 to May 20. North Carolina producers planted from April 24 to June 1. Again, the majority of the crop was planted in mid-May.

Virginia's top growers in 2000 moved to plant VA 98R, as did North Carolina's top producers. NC-V 11 continues to hold sway in North Carolina.

Seeding rates in North Carolina ranged all over the board, from 100 pounds per acre to 150 pounds per acre. In Virginia, the average was 102.5 pounds per acre.

Landplaster application is a common practice among top growers in Virginia and North Carolina.

In North Carolina, the practice was used by all but one of the 22 top growers, Jordan says. Sixteen used broadcast landplaster while five used the bagged product. In Virginia, 15 broadcast landplaster and one used the bagged product.

When it comes to tillage, the majority of the champion growers in Virginia use the moldboard plow. For North Carolina's top producers, the tillage practices range from disking, chisel plow, moldboard plow, field cultivation, bedding, ripping and bedding and strip-till.

More top producers in North Carolina are using field cultivation, the moldboard plow and rip and bed than the rest of the growers, Jordan says. The number of top growers in North Carolina using strip-till has increased over the past several years.

As far as rotation is concerned, the top producers are using cotton in the rotation to full benefit, Jordan says. For the most part, the top producers in North Carolina are on three- and four-year rotations with cotton, some soybeans and corn.

In Virginia, two to four-year rotations are average for the top producers.

Eleven of the top 15 growers are on a three-year rotation, with wheat, soybeans, corn and cotton.

In the fertility area, 10 of Virginia's finest producers use no direct fertilization of the peanut crop, while six do fertilize the crop. The majority of North Carolina and Virginia's top producers apply boron and manganese.

In the area of disease management, Virginia and North Carolina producers share the unfortunate distinction of several disease problems.

For CBR control, only four top producers in Virginia didn't fumigate. In North Carolina, only one top producer didn't fumigate for CBR.

In the battle against Sclerotinia, seven North Carolina and Virginia producers used Omega, which received a Section 18 last season. The top growers in both states by and large treated for southern stem rot. Leafspot control consisted largely of Folicur and chlorothanlanil products.

For insect control, all but one of the top North Carolina growers used Temik in-furrow. On foliar insects, Asana was the most often used material. In Virginia, five of the top producers applied Temik over Orthene for control of thrips; one used Thimet over Orthene.

Eleven Virginia producers and 18 North Carolina producers used Lorsban for control of southern corn rootworm.