Organizers of the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award have reviewed production data from previous winners to arrive at a “Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability.” This list of successful production practices is being presented in descending order in Southeast Farm Press and on this website, with sponsorship provided by DuPont Crop Protection. The Peanut Profitability Awards, based on production efficiency in whole-farm situations, is entering its 13th year and is administered by Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory, and his staff.

If you’ve been farming for any length of time, it’s a familiar refrain by now — the keys to success in any cropping system are rotation, rotation, rotation.

It’s certainly no different in peanuts, and it’s the reason rotation comes in at No. 2 on the Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability.

The primary benefit of rotation, of course, if that it reduces the severity of disease, and disease control continues to be the leading cost input for peanut producers, especially in the Southeast.

In sifting through more than a decade’s worth of data from Peanut Profitability winners, Research Director Marshall Lamb and his staff at the National Peanut Research Lab found that rotation was a nearly universal commonality among the honorees.

Rotation, says Lamb, is one those tried and true production methods that growers tend to take for granted, at least until they stop practicing it.

Simply put, increasing the number of seasons between consecutive peanut crops in the same field has been shown to reduce disease levels and increase yields.

Specialists with the University of Georgia Extension Peanut Team advise that the fungal pathogens that cause leaf spot, rhizoctonia limb rot and white mold all survive between peanut crops on peanut crop debris, as survival structures in the soil, and on volunteer peanuts.

The time between consecutive peanut crops allows for the deterioration of peanut crop debris, thus depriving the fungal pathogens of a source of nutrition.

Also, fungal survival structures and spores that are present in the soil have a certain period of viability in which to germinate and infect another peanut plant before they are no longer viable.