More than 200 farmers and agribusiness leaders from across South Carolina saw and heard the latest research information on peanuts and corn at a Fall Field Day at the Edisto Agriculture Research and Education Center in Blackville, S.C.

“Peanuts look great across the state,” says Clemson Peanut Specialist Scott Monfort. Speaking at the meeting, Monfort said harvest date may be a little tricky on some varieties this year because of some wet weather and a spread out planting period.

However, for the most part the South Carolina peanut belt, which runs south to north from Georgia to North Carolina, received timely rainfall and generally good production weather throughout the growing season, he noted.

Based on recent samples, several April-planted fields of Virginia variety peanuts are ready to dig or are within a week of being ready, Monfort said. But in some cases the lack of rain, too much rain, cooler conditions or cloudy skies has put some crops a week or two behind.

For example, he added, “Not all April-planted Baileys are ready, and Runners planted in April are still two or three weeks away from maturity.”

David Gunter, Clemson corn, soybean and small grain specialist said harvest is not quite complete on this year’s corn crop, but he expects it to be above average in yield and quality. “I’ve seen a lot of corn across the state this year, and almost without exception, it looks great — looks like we could have a really good year,” Gunter said.

The growing season wasn’t perfect for corn this year, but it was really good. There have been some problems with leaf rust sporadically around the state. And this year Holcus leaf spot showed up in more than a few places in South Carolina corn. Though there is some debate about what was and what wasn’t Holcus, Gunter says, the main point is that it had little impact on final corn yields.

New planter in spotlight

During the field demonstrations, Clemson Precision Agriculture Specialist Will Henderson and Monfort showed the crowd a new ‘Crust Buster’ twin row planter. Henderson said the new planter was used in several research plots on the Edisto Station and there were few problems, even in planting larger Virginia-type seeds.

With over 100,000 acres of peanuts planted in South Carolina this year, Clemson Weed Specialist Mike Marshall said there were many new growers who had some unusual questions about chemical burn on peanuts.

Marshall showed field day attendees some plots on which herbicides commonly used on crops adjacent to peanuts, but not labeled for use over-the-top on the crop were sprayed on peanuts. “As you can see, even in small row plots, avoiding herbicide drift is difficult,” he said, pointing out damage from glufosinate on one plot that carried over to a nearby plot.

“The real key to avoiding herbicide damage on peanuts is to carefully read the label and understand the risks. Though most of these herbicides aren’t labeled for use on peanuts, unfortunately some do get applied mistakenly, and the results are never good,” Marshall added.

Recently retired Clemson Peanut Specialist Jay Chapin showed the crowd results of numerous treatments for insects in peanuts. The most noticeable treatments were with various treatments for control of thrips in peanuts and subsequent control of thrips-vectored tomato spotted wilt virus.

“If you look at our best treatments for thrips and our best treatments for diseases, none are any better and most are not as good as Bailey, a disease resistant variety, with no treatments,” he said.

Though many people lament the loss of Temik, Chapin said on peanuts Thimet has always been a better option because it is more effective on thrips.

In plots treated with Thimet, thrips damage was lower than in Temik plots. In plots with Bailey peanuts and with Thimet, of thrips and tomato spotted wilt virus and other diseases was outstanding, Chapin said.

Edisto Research Center Resident Director John Mueller said the fall field day has traditionally included peanuts, corn, soybeans and cotton. However, attendance at the annual fall field day has grown to the point that they will split the field day into two separate events.

Mueller notes a Cotton and Soybean Field Day will be held at the Edisto Station on Oct. 4, with registration beginning at 4 p.m.

rroberson@farmpress.com