What is in this article?:
• Cost management is a broad term that could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but in peanut production, it focuses on two specific areas.
• During a time of restricted water use and multi-year droughts, it’s not enough anymore to simply water your peanut crop — you have to irrigate with precision and efficiency, and irrigation scheduling has become a common practice of winners of the Peanut Profitability Award.
“They begin by taking soil temperature readings a couple of times per week and ask for the recommendation which will advise if and how much to irrigate or when to check soil temperatures again.
Generally, irrigation recommendations are made to maintain soil temperatures and water in the optimum ranges,” says Lamb.
The program generates graphs showing your data in relation to optimum and minimum zones, helping you diagnose problems that may occur.
Irrigator Pro for peanuts has been extensively evaluated and validated in replicated research plots as well as commercial trials with cooperating farmers, says Lamb.
Yield increases of more than 300 pounds per acre and 2 percentage point increases in Sound Mature Kernels and Sound Splits have been demonstrated.
The success of Irrigator Pro for peanuts created interest from other groups, resulting in comparable models for cotton and corn.
Recommendations for these crops are based on the physiological needs of the plant during different stages of growth and development. These models differ from the peanut model by requiring the use of soil moisture sensors.
Growers are asked to follow manufacturers’ preparation and installation recommendations that accompany their sensors, test them, and then install at depths of 8, 16 and 24 inches, in the row, after the crop has emerged.
Producers then record rainfall events from the day of planting until sensors are installed and readings are entered. Data specific to each field is required such as soil type and irrigation capacity.
To begin entering data, growers simply enter farm information, then individual fields, and the data for those fields as it occurs. When sensor readings are entered, recommendations can be retrieved advising if and/or when to irrigate, an amount, and when to check the sensors again.
A comment section is also included for any information you may want to reference later in the season.
For information on how to obtain any of the Irrigator Pro irrigation scheduling programs, contact Staci Ingram with the National Peanut Research Laboratory at 229-995-7400.
(The introductory article to the Top 10 Keys can be found here. Keys No. 10 and No. 9 can be found by clicking here. Keys No. 8 and No. 7 can be found at Reduced-tillage, precision farming two more keys to peanut profits).