For sure, the high percentage of Bailey (estimated at 50 percent of the North Carolina crop) and Sugg (25 percent of the crop) planted, significantly reduced the amount of damage to peanut yield caused by diseases.

For much of the year conditions were ideal for diseases to flourish, yet for the most part Bailey, in particular, seemed to literally weather the storm much better than other varieties.

Tom Isleib, North Crolina plant breeder and head of the program that released Bailey, then Sugg a few years back, says he is confident Bailey will stand up to intense disease pressure during normal growing seasons.

This year was far from normal, but these new varieties seemed to hold up well under climatic conditions that exceeded any conditions under which the varieties were tested prior to their release.

Shew says tests across North Carolina showed the heavy disease pressure took a heavy toll on other varieties. “We saw some disease damage on Bailey and Sugg, but nothing like what we saw on Champs and some of the other varieties,” she adds.

Regardless of what variety is planted, taking care of disease issues the last few weeks prior to harvest will be accentuated this year.

What many are calling a 100 year rain occurrence has left a very non-uniform peanut crop in the Upper Southeast this year.

Even peanuts that were planted on time were slowed by the rain, but more so by long periods of cool, cloudy weather.

Other peanuts were planted late, some as late as July. The combined result is that harvest season will be spread out longer this year to account for the lack uniformity.

This year digging began in mid-September and will likely last until first frost — or beyond.

Shew notes that peanut fungicide application typically begins at about the R3 growth stage and lasts until the first week or so in September. On that schedule growers will apply fungicides five times. Perhaps with Bailey and Sugg growers can cut out one fungicide application, she notes.

This year many peanut fields will be in the ground longer than normal, because of the unusual weather. If the weather cools down in late September and October, it will put the brakes on leafspot, but it will also further delay the peanut crop.

This year is tricky for growers, because the season is stretched out. In many fields it’s likely, regardless of what variety is grown, that some will need an extra fungicide application to protect their crop until digging time.

“If we get a hurricane or tropical storm late in the extended growing season, then all bets are off, because growers may not be able to get in their field for 10-12 days and fungicide applications last only about two weeks.