It’s rained and some fields have flooded. Since June 1 in Seminole County, Ga., near the Florida and Alabama lines for example, rain’s totaled 19 inches, three times the total for the same timeframe last year for the area. Half that total came the first week in July.

In extreme cases, a dose of N might be needed on soggy peanuts. “It is recommended to check peanut fields that have received abundant amounts of rain recently for nodule activity and active N-fixation,” said Scott Tubbs, UGA cropping systems agronomist.

Gather several plants from low spots in a suspect field that’s sat under water for more than two days. Slice several of the nodules open on each plant. If the nodules are pink, red or dark purple and appear moist, then those nodules are healthy and there are no concerns of reduced N-fixation, Tubbs said.

“If the interior of the nodules are gray, white, green or brown and appear dry on the interior, then those nodules are most likely no longer active,” he said. “So the chances of N deficiency will be greater as we enter into pegging and pod-fill, a very N-demanding period of crop development.”

As of July 8, a third of Georgia’s peanuts were reported as pegging, 20 percent behind the five-year average. In Alabama, 55 percent were pegging, 20 percent ahead of the five-year average.

When peanut roots and nodules are saturated and cannot get oxygen, N-fixation can cease either temporarily or permanently, Tubbs said. But the severity of it can vary widely by soil type and microclimate. And there is no hard data to show how long a peanut plant can withstand flooded conditions.

“But we theorize that if a field was in saturated soil conditions for 48 hours or less, then the crop may experience brief yellowing from temporary shut-down of nodule activity, but the crop likely will not experience any serious injury or yield loss,” Tubbs said. “Longer periods of water-logged conditions start to carry concern of damage which may need to be addressed.”

If more than 50 percent of nodules are inactive, then a foliar application of N fertilizer like ammonium sulfate may be necessary, he said. But make sure you need it, or you could make a bad thing worse.

“The supplemental N could cause the remaining active nodules to cease N-fixation, which may require multiple N applications to meet the high-N needs of the crop for the remainder of the season,” he said.

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