What is in this article?:
• Despite problems with the 2011 crop, a predicted shortage in edible peanuts and subsequent high prices will likely influence more South Carolina farmers to try peanuts and will encourage those already growing the crop to expand their acreage in 2012.
• The high prices expected for peanuts in 2012 — some contend up to $1,000 a ton — may cloud the judgment of some growers.
Ideal rotation crop
“In addition to providing a good source of farm revenue, peanuts really helped cotton growers in our part of the state. It is an ideal rotation crop and allows growers to break the cotton after cotton cycle,” he explains.
“This year, we are seeing some different things. We planted a few acres of Bailey peanuts, for example, and in late August we began seeing discoloration of the foliage of these plants.
“We found it was caused by feeding from 3-cornered alfalfa beetles. None of the other two varieties in the same field showed any damage. When we get the yield data we can determine whether the so-called ‘hopper burn’ has any effect on yield and quality,” Perrow says.
“Typically, in the kind of hot, dry weather we had this year, you would expect lesser cornstalk borer to be a problem. We had some sporadic problems, but not much that was worth treating. It was just a different year,” the South Carolina consultant adds. “Even in a dry year like this past season, CBR (cylindrocladium black rot) is often a problem. We kept looking for it, but never really saw much of problem, despite all the heat and dry conditions,” Perrow notes.
“Aflatoxin contamination was a big problem in the 2010 peanut crop and in 2011 weather conditions are much more favorable for it to develop.”
Perrow says it’s never been much of a problem in his area of South Carolina, but it is a concern this year because of the unusual weather.
“I think we will have a split peanut crop this year. Peanuts put on an early taproot crop, and after it got so dry, we really had a pollination problem and the plants didn’t really put on any more peanuts until Augustwhen we got some rainfall,” Perrow says.
When to dig is probably the most critical management decision a peanut farmer has to make. That’s comparable to knowing when to defoliate cotton — the wrong decision can cost a lot of money.
For growers thinking about getting into peanuts or going bigger with peanuts next year, Perrow says get some good information.
“It can be difficult, because you get information from so many sources and some is good and some is bad for your particular farming situation.
“Finding someone you can trust to help you make those critical decisions will be important for growers not familiar with growing peanuts,” the South Carolina consultant says.