Peanut harvest is just around the corner in South Carolina. 

Growers attended several maturity clinics this past week to get a glimpse at when to start digging peanuts. Based on the samples blasted, several April planted fields (Virginia type peanuts) are ready to dig or are within a week of being ready. 

The bad thing is not all April planted Baileys are ready.  For whatever reason (lack of rain, too much rain, cool and cloudy conditions, etc.), a few of the Baileys sampled seem to be about 1-2 weeks behind. 

Runners planted in April are still 3+/- weeks away from maturity. I would suggest growers check your fields more than once to get a more accurate reading on the maturity of the crop. You can easily over/under estimate maturity by pulling your sample from only one spot in the field. 

We will continue to host maturity clinics over the next few weeks. Please call your local county agent for dates and times.

In talking with several growers during my travels over the last two weeks, they had commented on how many pegs the peanut plants had generated during August. 

The main question asked was “Do we have time to make a marketable peanut from these pegs before we harvest for the May/June planted peanuts”? David Jordan, NCSU peanut agronomist, made a few comments in his last newsletter on this topic that I would like to share.

 “Some rules of thumb about pegs you might be seeing now. Generally, a peg arriving in late June will become a mature peanut (brown/black mesocarp color) by late September (about 90 days.)

“So, if a peg is produced in late August there is little chance it will make a fully mature kernel/pod (90 days would be late November.) But, those pegs could make SMK (sound mature kernel) by late October/early November if we have decent fall weather (90 days – 25 days, difference between just making SMK and a fully mature peanut).

“Although maturity is affected strongly by heat units, it is suspected that some level of ‘photoperiodism’ might influence maturation.

“While I have seen no hard data, the value of 20 percent has been thrown around. This simply means that sometimes it seems like we can’t possibly make up ground in the fall because of heat units, but we get a surprise in how maturity seems to be enhanced even when temperatures are not conducive to maturation.

“That is all I know about this, but along with the heat units there is a little more at play in the fall.”

See you at the Edisto REC — Peanut /Corn Field Day on Thursday, Sept. 6. The Address of the Edisto REC is 64 Research Road, Blackville, S.C. 29817. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and tours begin at 9:30 a.m.

Feel free to give me a call at 803-335-8531. I would be happy to help in any way.