What is in this article?:
- Wet summer put damper on 2013 peanut yields
- Thrips hit peanuts hard
• Excessive rainfall in the lower Southeast this year probably will prevent producers from harvesting the record peanut yields seen in 2013.
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA Extension peanut agronomist John Beasley describes crop conditions during the recent Field Crops Field Day at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in Headland, Ala.
Thrips hit peanuts hard
“That put us into May when we had a late thrips flights that hammered peanuts, causing injury and more delay. Then, it started raining in July. Peanuts were younger and smaller, with root systems that were not as large as last year, so they didn’t survive as well in wet soils, causing a lot of yellowing. That was followed by a brief dry spell, during which peanuts made huge strides, but we got more rain in mid-August. But we really did need that late rain to help set up the peanut crop because it was planted later.”
In addition, Alabama growers haven’t seen many heat units this year as they did in 2012, says Balkcom.
“Looking at peanuts in southeast Alabama, we’ve found that the crop probably is about two weeks late. Peanuts planted at the end of April are still about three weeks from being ready to dig. Those peanuts will be about 145 to 150 days old before they are ready to be harvested. That’s similar to what we saw last year, when the biggest portion of the crop was ready at about 150 days.”
Balkcom cautions growers not to start digging their peanuts too early this year.
Georgia is certainly just as wet as Alabama this year, with some areas being wetter than others, says Beasley.
“We had gone through a two to three-week period where conditions were becoming warmer and drier, but then the rains came again in August, with 8 to 10 inches in mid-August. Fields that are well-drained, and upper parts of fields are going to be okay. Low areas are holding water, and the peanuts that are yellow now will not be corrected. We’ve just run out of time. If all of this rainfall had occurred very early, and we had time to recover, those areas might be okay,” says Beasley.
The percentage of areas affected by excessive moisture depends on the size of the field, he adds. “I’ve seen fields with a pretty good low spot, and the farmer may have lost a couple of acres. I’ve seen smaller places affected in a field that might amount to less than an acre.”
In a year like 2013, growers always want to know if nitrogen will be helpful in greening up peanuts, says Beasley.
“We’ve got some potential, and it’s still early in some places. We wanted to plant early so we’d be ready to harvest by about late August, but because we were so late in planting, it will be well after Labor Day before we see any significant harvest. A lot can happen in September and October with the weather, and we’ll need some dry weather for harvest.”