Reducing peanut seeding rates can save you in seed costs, but at what point does it become detrimental rather than beneficial? That’s the question Georgia researchers have been attempting to answer with field trials during the past several years.

“It won’t be beneficial in every case,” says Scott Tubbs, University of Georgia cropping systems agronomist. “It’ll depend on a number of different factors.”

Tubbs reminded growers at the recent Georgia Peanut Farm Show in Albany that maximizing yield and maximizing profit are not always synonymous in row crop production. “There are multiple scenarios I can think of where I would encourage a grower to purposely sacrifice a chance at a higher yield simply because the cost to achieve the additional yield outweighs the possible gain,” he says.

A reduction in seeding rate, adds Tubbs, can be an opportunity to save money on input costs as long as yield and grade of peanuts are not drastically reduced.

“We’ve been looking at the seeding rate of some of the larger-seed size cultivars that have been coming out in recent years to try and help you reduce your costs at planting, and we now have several years of research under our belts,” he says.

Plant stand is the key, says Tubbs. “The seeding rate itself is not the most important factor. What you want is to get a good, optimal plant stand. Unfortunately, you can’t know what your plant stand will be at planting. Therefore, we adjust the seeding rate in an attempt to get our optimal plant stand. To get an optimal plant stand, you also need to plant quality seed.  Planting good quality seed is going to give you the opportunity to know what your seeding rate is going to give you potentially in terms of plant stand,” he says.

It’s also important to plant in optimal conditions, with good soil moisture, he says.

Another consideration is that diseases respond differently to varying plant stands, says Tubbs. In the case of white mold, an increased plant stand could potentially be harmful because if the plants are closer together, the disease will spread down the row.

“So it could potentially benefit you to have a reduced seeding rate or plant stand with white mold. But tomato spotted wilt virus has the opposite effect. With a reduced plant stand, you could have an increased incidence of TSWV,” he says.

When quality seed are planted and good planting practices are used, the seeding rate usually will directly affect final plant stands, with higher seeding rates resulting in denser plant stands and lower seeding rates ending with sparser plant stands.