Peanut harvest is beginning in some of the earliest planted Florida Panhandle fields.

So far yield and grades have been decent, but only a handful of acres have been harvested.

“Peanut maturity is always an important consideration in a year like this, when peanuts may or may not be ready according to the calendar. The hull scrape or pod blast method will help determine the optimum time to dig,” said David Wright, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences agronomist.

“In addition to pod maturity, growers need to consider “the health of the vines and the weather forecast.

“If a hurricane looks imminent two or more weeks before peanuts are ready to dig, additional fungicide applications may be necessary to prevent spread of leaf spot disease. Severe defoliation from leaf spot or other diseases that weaken the vines and pegs may require a field to be dug early to prevent harvest losses.

“Digging losses can be up to 500 pounds per acre when pegs are weakened from disease and other stressors,” he said.

To see videos of the 2013 peanut harvest in Jackson County, Fla, click here.