For peanut growers in Georgia, the message is clear: “It’s game time! It’s white mold time.  Let’s do it!”

There are several important reasons why it is white mold time. First, temperatures are warming considerably as we enter the summer season. Outbreaks of white mold are more severe and are fueled by warmer soil temperatures.  Second, warm soil temperatures and moist conditions are critical ingredients for the development and spread of white mold.  Third, our peanut crop is now growing to a point where a small canopy of leaves is present.  Higher humidity and periods of leaf-wetness will increase within the canopy as it continues to expand during the season.  This warm, moist environment is essential for explosive outbreaks of white mold.

The “backbone” of white mold management remains the use of appropriate fungicides over the period between 60 and 102 days after planting.  This is our historical “white mold management block”.  However, there has been a revolution in the management of white mold over the past five years.  Not only do we have an expanding arsenal of effective fungicides for the management of white mold, such as Fontelis and Proline, but the cost of fungicide tebuconazole has dropped allowing creative new programs. 

Based largely on research from Tim Brenneman’s program, we manage white mold more aggressively.  The most obvious changes have been 1) the value of applications of fungicides at nights, 2) the value of banded applications of Proline and Abound within five weeks of planting, and 3) the value of early-season broadcast applications of tebuconazole. “Get their first with the most,” is a good strategy to manage white mold, concentrating fungicides to the target earlier than we have in the past.