What is in this article?:
- Multiple factors are causing a delay this year in Georgia's peanut harvest.
- Planting was delayed due to a cool, wet spring.
- The average yield for 2013 is estimated at 3,900 pounds per acre, far short of last year's record.
GEORGIA PEANUT FIELDS, usually busy with harvest activities were quiet in mid-September, the result of multiple factors including delayed planting and excessive rainfall throughout the growing season.
Behind last year
This time last year, Georgia’s weekly crop condition report showed that 75 percent of the state’s peanut crop was considered to be good to excellent. This year, 58 percent is rated as good to excellent.
“Georgia’s final peanut acreage for 2013 is estimated at 430,000 acres, the lowest since 1923.
“It has been a long time since we’ve planted so few acres. The yield prediction is 3,900 pounds per acre, not close to last year’s record-breaking average.”
But despite this year’s heavy rainfall, weed and disease control have been good, says Beasley.
“Weed control has been outstanding this year despite heavy rainfall. Our weed scientists have delivered to our county agents and growers the kinds of programs that reduce the threat of problem weeds. The biggest concern is the herbicide-resistant weeds, not only for peanuts but for all crop production. A lot of time, effort and funding have been spent to address these problems.
“Also, we’re not seeing the disease severity we thought we would because of excessive rainfall. The great thing about weed and disease control is that growers have exceptional tools for monitoring any problems that arise. With those programs and the chemistries available, our growers can do a fantastic job.”
A new wrinkle for 2013 has been a sharp increase in the level of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) in farmers’ fields, says Beasley.
“Growers also saw the highest level of TSWV than they’ve seen in many years. There was an explosion of thrips populations in late May, and we expected that would show us a lot of tomato spotted wilt virus. This virus has not gone away, and it is incumbent upon us to continue monitoring the problem and do whatever we can to help growers prevent it from occurring in their fields. This is some of the worst virus we have seen in since 1997 or 1998.”
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