The 2012 peanut production season was literally one for the record books, with growers throughout the U.S. making record-high yields and production. Having accomplished such a feat, many in the industry are asking, “What’s next?” For the answer to this question, it’s important to take a look at what is in the peanut research pipeline — those problems, issues and initiatives currently being addressed that will lead to even more efficient and profitable peanut production. This series on “Pipelines to Peanut Profitability” is taking an in-depth look at these areas of research, what they could mean to growers, and when producers can expect to see practical, on-farm applications of this research.

Researchers across the Southeast’s Peanut Belt have long known the devastating impact of nematodes on crop yields and have made significant strides in developing delivery systems to significantly reduce the risk.

However, in recent years development of site specific delivery systems on row crops has been virtually stopped by a lack of reliable nematicides to deliver.

At Clemson University, Plant Pathologist John Mueller and a team of researchers headed by Ag Engineer Ahmad Khalilian developed a workable system to deliver varying rates of the two most popular peanut nematicides, Temik 15G and Telone II.

The problem is Temik is no longer on the market and Telone II is frequently in short supply.

“Over the past few years we’ve done on-farm work with growers who have used a simple on-off system of delivering either Temik or Telone, and some have been very successful with it. 

“With Telone II, if it’s available, it will cost a grower $40-$60 per acre, so they first have to be very sure they have a nematode problem that is severe enough to warrant this expensive type of nematicide treatment,” Mueller says.

Doug Jarrell, who farms near Estill, S.C., has used the Clemson-developed nematicide delivery system successfully.

Working with Thomas Ag Crop Management, Jarrell developed a soil map for most of the 1,500 acre farming operation he operates with his father B.L. Jarrell. The map shows fields categorized as low, medium and high risk for developing damaging nematode populations.

Using a simple off-on system developed by Clemson University researchers, he uses this variable rate application method to apply higher rates of nematicides in fields with higher risks of nematodes and applies less or none to fields with low risk of nematode damage.

When he first started working with variable rate nematicides, he used Telone II in fields with high risk of damaging nematode populations.

In cotton, even in high risk fields in which he used Telone II, he says he still used the standard five pounds per acre of Temik 15G. Now Temik is gone, so the option of using it is off the table for now.