Specialists say that earlier crops of soybeans had introduced this disease to the field and that back-to-back years of peanuts had intensified the problem.

One of the greatest benefits of crop rotation is that it increases the effectiveness of all disease management programs.

Effective crop rotation helps to take the pressure off of a fungicide program to minimize the impact of disease. Any fungicide program will be more effective where good crop rotation is practiced.

In some situations, fields that are well rotated will require fewer, or at least less expensive, fungicide applications by the grower.

Recommendations from the University of Georgia for crop rotation and peanut production include the following:

1.) Avoid planting peanuts in the same field more than once out of every three years. Longer rotations, for example, once every four years, are even better.

2.) The best crops to rotate with peanuts are grass crops such as corn, sorghum and bahiagrass. These crops will help to reduce the severity of diseases caused by rhizoctonia solani, as well as CBR, white mold and leaf spot diseases.

Although corn and sorghum are alternate hosts for the peanut root-knot nematode, they are less affected than peanuts are. Therefore, planting corn and sorghum should help to reduce populations of peanut root-knot nematode, though perhaps not as fast as when a non-host such as cotton is planted.

Bahiagrass is susceptible to the lesion nematode, which can reduce the pod brightness important for the green peanut market.

3.) Cotton is a very good rotation crop with peanuts and should help to reduce the severity of white mold, leaf spot diseases and CBR on future crops.

Cotton is not a host for the peanut root-knot nematode, so this will be a beneficial effect as well. Cotton is a host for rhizoctonia solani, so diseases caused by this pathogen will remain a concern in peanut-cotton rotations, especially in conservation tillage where crop debris remains on the surface.

4.) Soybeans, other leguminous crops, and many vegetable crops are not preferred for rotation with peanuts. Although such rotations are likely to reduce the severity of leaf spot diseases, they may not reduce the severity of white mold, rhizoctonia limb rot, the peanut root-knot nematode, or, in the case of soybeans, CBR.

(An introduction to this series of keys to peanut profits can be found here. Keys No. 10 and No. 9 can be found here. No. 8 and No. 7 are here. Cost management, efficient water use two more keys to peanut profits came in at No. 6 and No. 5. Disease control ranked No. 4 and that information can be found here. The No. 3 key was listed as proactive farm management. That information is available here).

phollis@farmpress.com