What is in this article?:
- First-time Mississippi peanut growers learning as they go
- Early burndown important
- Digging is most critical operation
• Last year, he said at the North Mississippi Peanut Field Day on the farm of John and Mark Agostinelli at Clarksdale, “As best we can determine, there were only about 14,500 acres of peanuts in north Mississippi. This year, there are 30,000 to 35,000 acres, and statewide more than 50,000 acres.
JOHN AGOSTINELLI, from left, Clarksdale, Miss., grower, shows peanuts on his farm to Brian Houston, Delta Hills Farms, and Collins Fyfe, Jimmy Sanders Inc., both of Tunica, Miss. Agostinelli hosted the North Mississippi Peanut Field Day with his brother, Mark. They planted 900 acres of peanuts this year.
Early burndown important
Gore said he didn’t recall getting a single question this year about soil insects, “which are more important in terms of potential yield reduction.
“It’s important to make your burndown applications early in order to get rid of weeds that insects such as wireworms feed on; if the soil insect complex is not controlled, they can cause some pretty severe yield losses.”
Thimet, Temik, or Lorsban applied at planting are the best options for controlling these pests, he says, but some control is also seen with Admire Pro as an in-furrow spray or Cruiser as a seed treatment.
The lesser cornstalk borer can be a significant pest of peanuts, Gore says. If they are already in the field, one option for control is Lorsban 15G applied on a band or broadcast.
“Probably 90 percent of the calls we’ve received this year have been about foliage feeding worms: corn earworms, loopers, fall armyworms, cutworms, etc.
“Peanuts can withstand a lot of foliage loss, particularly early in the season, less so late season. Cutworms are a concern because they not only will feed on foliage, but will cut pegs and branches, which can result in direct yield losses.
“For the most part, pyrethroids do not provide good control of most of the caterpillars in peanuts. There are a number of good worm-specific products for control, including Belt, Dimilin, Tracer, Steward and others.
“These products are also less likely to flare spider mites, for which there aren’t a lot of control options. Spider mites can be absolutely devastating in peanuts. The only option for control is Comite II, and only two applications can be made during the season. The scary thing is that Comite II has not performed well in other crops for a few years now.”
Three-cornered alfalfa hoppers can also occur in peanuts, he says, but yield loss is “fairly minor compared to flared spider mites. Growers should consider holding off on applications until they start seeing a significant amount of girdling on pegs.
“Pyrethroids provide very good control of this pest. If an application does need to be made, the best option is to use a bifenthrin product at the highest rate that is labeled for peanuts, because it will provide some suppression of spider mites. Because of that, it is less likely to flare spider mites compared to the other pyrethroids.”
One method of determining when to harvest, Gore says, is to dig up two or three plants and pull off 200 full-size pods. Put them in a wire basket and blast with a pressure washer to remove dirt. Scrape off the seed coat and sort the peanuts by the hull color: white, yellow, orange, and brown/black.
“For the best yield, you want 75 percent of the peanuts to be in the orange to black range.”