Whenever peanut prices are low, growers naturally begin considering where they can reduce inputs. And, since the most expensive input in peanut production is disease control, that’s the most logical place to start.

But a better crop rotation gives growers more freedom in deciding where to cut, says Austin Hagan, Auburn University Extension plant pathologist.

Growers in Alabama’s Wiregrass region in the southeast portion of the state have seen quite a bit of pressure from white mold disease in recent years, says Hagan.

“This is particularly true in early planted peanuts – you have a higher risk of white mold if you plant in April than you do if you plant in mid-May. Once you’re into the third week of May, the risk of white mold almost drops out of the equation,” he says.

If you planted in mid-April and you’re going into a field with a history of white mold problems, you might want to look at an early season over-the-top banded application of a material like Convoy, Proline or Abound, he says.

In one trial, one application of Convoy at 40 days did as well as a multi-application program, he says. “This is a treatment that you might want to look at only if you’re planting early in a field with a history of the disease,” he says.

The good news for peanut producers, says Hagan, is that there’s an abundance of peanut fungicides on the market today.

“The products we’ve looked at in our trials all do a very good job. We have products that are specific only for leafspot. And if you’re in a situation with a good rotation, then that might well be the direction in which you should go rather than worry too much about soil-borne diseases. If you’ve had peanuts in a field for two to four consecutive years, that probably would be a good time to think about putting a white mold material in your program.”

Name-brand products, of course, tend to cost more than generics, says Hagan, but they tend to give better yield results. “But if you have a field with low disease pressure, you can do a good job with some of these generic materials,” he says.

Peanut Rx is a rules-based system that allows growers to develop a prescription-based program for each field on a farm, says Hagan.

“You don’t have to make seven fungicide applications if you’re in a good rotation situation. Planting the right variety in the right row spacing and the right situations will allow you some leeway in disease control.

“Peanut Rx allows you to determine if you can get by with five or even a four-spray program. Major companies are participating in this program so that you can follow these recommendations and not void the warranty on the materials you’re applying.”