What is in this article?:
• The Kneece family has won the South Carolina yield championship five of the past six years.
• The only year they didn’t win it, they finished second behind state champion Britt Rowe, who farms near Lynchburg, S.C.
RICKY KNEECE says winning state peanut yield championships is nice, but growing high yielding crops is the real goal.
Seeding rate critical
The South Carolina grower plants on 38-inch rows. Using the newer varieties has forced him to re-think how many pounds of seed peanut he plants per acre. It’s critical, Kneece says, to end up with no more than six and no fewer than five seed per row foot.
“When we were planting NC-V11 peanuts we planted 120 pounds per acre. With Champs, we upped that to 140 pounds per acre. The new varieties give us a lot better disease resistance package, but it does change slightly how you grow these peanuts,” he adds.
This year he started his fungicide program 35 days after planting with an application of Bravo. He came back on these peanuts 14 days later with a tank-mix of Bravo-Tilt. The third application, also 14 days later, he used Abound.
With his fourth fungicide application he applied 7 ounces of Headline and a pint of Folicur.
His fifth fungicide application was a pint of Abound, and his last application, applied on Aug. 26, using 7 ounces of Headline and a pint of folicur.
The 2011 season was unusual, Kneece says, in that there was very little tomato spotted wilt virus and white mold in his fields. Hot weather, he contends, stopped these diseases cold. His biggest disease threat this growing season was leafspot, he adds.
The South Carolina grower says losing Temik created some challenges for him. “I attribute a part of our high yields to Temik. We use about 6 pounds per acre, and it has really made a difference. This year we could only get enough Temik to treat half our peanut land. We used Thimet, and had some help from our Helena dealer to calibrate our sprayer just right, and it worked out fine,” Kneece says.
Kneece doesn’t apply any herbicide at planting, waiting until cracking or after-cracking to spray 1.3 pints of Dual Magnum and 10 ounces of ENC, a Helena product, instead of Basagran for a safener.
“After I sprayed one field, I rode by it and I just knew I had burned the peanuts bad enough to affect yield. But after a few days, the peanuts seemed to come back quicker than when we used Basagran for a safener,” the South Carolina grower says.
“This year we came back with Blazer on part of our peanuts and Storm on another part.” He used 12 ounces of 2,4-DB with the Blazer-Storm application, and the butyrac in the mix seemed to really knock the escaped weeds for a loop.”
In some places he came back with Poast for fall panicum. “The combinations did a real good job on weeds this year. With the hot weather in the mix, I think we did a better job on weed control than we have in the past few years, he says.
How much water to apply and when to irrigate peanuts is always an issue? “We normally apply three fourths-inch of water twice a week. This year, it was clear cotton, corn and peanuts all needed more water. Keeping corn going during the critical growth stage, forced us to use less water (one half-inch).”
“Dryland peanuts were noticeably smaller and clearly not as productive as those under the pivot. Weed control was much better under the pivots, so the difference in yield will likely be significant on peanuts that are on dryland versus under irrigation,” he adds.
“It takes about two days for a 120 acre pivot to apply three fourths-inch of water. I could go to the field where it had been watered for two days, and there was very little moisture. Having irrigation helped with both the drought and by cooling down the crops. I don’t see how dryland crops made it this year,” Kneece says.