And check the picking cylinder speed frequently during the day. A cylinder speed that is set too fast can end up shelling peanuts as they are combined. These “loose shelled kernels”, or LSK’s, are a primary source of A. flavus development.

It isn’t uncommon to adjust cylinder speed in a combine two or three times in an afternoon. The cylinder speed may be too slow when starting and there is higher humidity earlier in the day, resulting in poor pod removal from the vines.

If cylinder speed is set faster to adjust for tougher vines, that faster speed may be too fast as you get into the middle or later in the afternoon and vines are more brittle.

Mild insect year, but not clear just yet

“We’ve had a mild insect year with the exception of a very heavy thrips pressure early in the spring. Around June 10 we were on the tail end of a big thrips flight that started mid-May and these thrips found our peanuts. They were young and the thrips really ragged them up,” said Mark Abney, UGA Extension peanut entomologist.

The thrips caused damage but the thrips also carry and transmit tomato spotted wilt virus. There have been more reports of TSWV this year than in recent years in Georgia, likely due to the heavy thrips pressure earlier in the year, Abney said.

Abney said most growers are clear for any remaining problems with insects this year. But growers need to keep an eye on late-planted peanuts. He’s gotten reports of spider mites causing problems in Mississippi and South Carolina.

“They’ve gotten dry and gotten dry quicker than we (in Georgia) did and they are seeing spider mites. Don’t ignore peanut fields as we get into the last few weeks before harvest.

“Because if you got two or three weeks left before you dig and you end up with a heavy spider mite population, those things can take off and go really fast. You can end up with a lot of foliar damage on some peanuts that you need to make some pounds the last few weeks.”