What is in this article?:
- Disease management vital in sustainable peanut production
- Disease management critical in sustainability
- Impressive arsenal of peanut fungicides
- For peanut producers, disease management is a critical factor in maintaining sustainability.
- Growers can reduce their use of fungicides and nematicides by using best management practices.
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA Extension plant pathologist Bob Kemerait says disease management is a critical component of sustainability in peanut production.
Impressive arsenal of peanut fungicides
Peanut producers, says Kemerait, have never had a better arsenal of fungicides. “Using those effectively is a critical mission for us. We currently have four general classes of fungicides. The first one is chlorothalonil. It’s out by itself and we’re not really worried about resistance. The other three, including the triazole fungicides, strobilurin fungicides and even the SDHI fungicides all can develop resistance. These fungicides are where we want to be as far as efficacy. They’re the ones we use most often, and we need them for sustainability.”
Do growers need anything more than chlorothalonil and tebuconazole, asks Kemerait.
“It’s an inexpensive mix that gives us very good disease control in most situations. But I would argue that we have to be very concerned about that. The best tool for resistance management is to get away from inexpensive. That’s not what growers want to hear – they don’t want to overspend. But if things are too inexpensive, growers tend to put it out because it doesn’t cost much. How much tebuconazole is being used? Overuse of tebucanozole is not sustainable. It may make economic sense in the short term, but it’s not sustainable.
“We’ve got to look at cost versus efficacy versus resistance management. Azoxystrobin is going off patent soon and the wolves are probably already there. Tebuconazole is an outstanding fungicide. It’s also an inexpensive fungicide that we overuse, but we have to remember that there’s value in spending more money sometimes. Don’t start thinking you can use more of something just because it’s cheap.”
Growers who want to get the most benefit from a fungicide need to anticipate rain events, says Kemerait.
“You need to be timely and stay ahead of the disease. Research has found that night spraying improves soil-borne disease control. Work also has been done on early emergence applications. We’re talking about additional sprays but better management. Sustainable means stewardship of the environment, but it also means making more money with the limited resources we have.”
Growers no longer have Temik for nematode control, and it was a very effective nematicide when used appropriately, says Kemerait. Telone is available, but many growers won’t use it because of its cost and application requirements.
A new strategy this is now being used in cotton and soon will be used in peanuts is determining how to best predicts “response” zones in a field, he says.
“Then we can use Telone only where we need it. Nighttime applications, early applications and site-specific applications all are ways we can make peanut production more sustainable. If we can cut the rate of Telone in a field by 60 percent and maintain yields, you can’t tell me that’s not sustainable.”