“In tests at two locations in Georgia and one at Walnut Ridge, Ark., we terminated flowering at about day 100. One of the compounds is diflufenzopyr Na, an experimental chemical from BASF that is not yet approved for use; the other is generic glyphosate.

“The glyphosate was applied at the rate of 2 ounces, 4 ounces, and 6 ounces per acre. Generic glyphosate is cheap at the full rate, and it is particularly cheap at these low rates.:

From day 100 through day 120, on 3-foot rows, plants were producing an average of 14 new, viable flowers every day, Lamb says. The chemical treatments reduced that to two to three flowers each day. And even in the flowers that remained, the pollen wasn't viable. In other plots, flowers were hand-removed for 20 days.

“We saw a significant increase in maturity in older peanuts after flowers were removed,” Lamb says.

“Reducing flowers, whether chemically or by hand, increased the rate of maturation over the control plots by three-fold and four-fold amounts. Grades were also increased.

“Yield for irrigated peanuts was increased by as much as 700 pounds, much of that due to kernel density. The peanuts that remained were heavier, which translated into higher yield and grade.

“It’s hard to convince a farmer to take flowers off his peanuts. But at a certain time in the crop’s development, new flowers will only make new pegs and peanuts that take energy away from the more mature peanuts.

“If we halt that process, that energy can go toward a better maturity distribution, and hopefully better yield and grade.”


Other articles in the series:

New, improved varieties leading way for U.S. production

X-ray vision points to more efficient peanut grading system

Early-season disease control keeps peanut yield foe at bay

Water-use efficiency becoming priority for peanut producers who irrigate

Lack of nematicides slows use of variable rate application in peanuts