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According to southwest Georgia peanut grower Todd Powell, everyone in his area had good crop potential early in the year and then the drought hit. He goes on to say he has probably the best crop ever, but it came with a price in irrigation expenses, which must be added back into production costs.
Weather conditions also have contributed to pest problems, he continues.
“Resistant Palmer amaranth pigweed has especially been a problem in southwest Georgia. We’ve also had to battle a lot of Florida beggarweed during the 2010 growing season. Also, the weather conditions have been ideal for the rapid development and spread of the disease white mold, otherwise known as Southern stem rot or Southern blight.
“The intense heat put stress on the plants and the more widely scattered and frequent rain events that followed in late August were the perfect ingredients for white mold to spread. Fortunately, producers have a very good arsenal of fungicides to combat the disease, but even the best fungicides have struggled to keep down the disease pressure,” says Beasley.
Even though growers have seen other diseases this year, white mold has been the most difficult to control and will have the most negative impact on yield potential, he says. “We’ve also seen leafspot, nematodes, cylindrocladium black rot and tomato spotted wilt virus. Fortunately, tomato spotted wilt virus levels this year are the lowest we’ve experienced since we first began monitoring the disease in 1990.”
Insect populations also have been a major factor on peanuts in 2010, says Beasley.
“Since 2005, it seems as if each year, we end up battling one or more insect species that reach economically damaging levels. This year, a number of fields were treated for tobacco budworms, fall armyworms, beet armyworms, lesser cornstalk borers and spider mites. Almost every field had at least one of these pests.”
Approximately 90 percent of the peanut acreage in Georgia was planted in five cultivars that have been released over the past four years: Georgia-06G, Florida-07, Tifguard, Georgia Greener and Georgia-07W. Georgia-06G is estimated to be planted on 40 to 45 percent of this year’s acreage, followed by Florida-07 and Tifguard on about 15 percent each, and Georgia Greener and Georgia-07W on about 7 to 10 percent each.