Peanut Harvest Widens In Southeast, Midsouth – AgFax

    Here is this week’s issue of AgFax Peanuts, sponsored by Arysta LifeScience.

    Owen Taylor, Editor (601-992-9488)
    Larry Stalcup, Southwest Editor (806-356-6098)


    In the Midsouth, digging has started through Arkansas and Mississippi and as far north as southeast Missouri. Any combining so far has probably been in south Mississippi where drought has taken a toll.

    In the lower Southeast, more digging is underway. The big push is still ahead, but in parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama it’s not hard to find peanuts on the ground or on their way to buying points. Disease pressure and/or drought stress has prompted some growers to dig certain fields ahead of optimal timing. We’re now hearing about some fields that will be baled for hay rather than dug.

    Soils are too dry for digging in some drought-stressed areas in both the Southeast and Midsouth.


    In the Southwest, most harvest is still a ways out. Spring weather delayed planting in many areas, so the hope is that the weather will remain mild enough into October to finish out the crop. Digging should start in Spanish varieties in some areas within 20 days, but runners and Virginias are close to a month off from any start to harvest. Some digging may already have gotten underway in parts of west Texas where the crop tended to develop early this year.

    In Oklahoma, cool and damp mornings have prompted concerns about leaf spot developing.

    Oklahoma will hold a peanut and cotton field day at the Fort Cobb research station on September 24, starting at 4 p.m. Topics will include peanut hull blasting and maturity assessment, along with cotton weed management. Field tours begin at 5:30 p.m. Call 405-743-7968 for more info.


    This is our last issue for the season.

    Our thanks to the Southern and Southwestern field staffs of Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring this year’s coverage.

    Our deep appreciation to the consultants, dealer personel and Extension workers who provide the content that makes our newsletters possible. 

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    Trey Bullock, Bullock’s Ag Consulting, Hattiesburg, Mississippi:

    “We’re digging peanuts and combining, too. Digging has started in a lot of peanuts that are 125 days old, which means they’re still a couple of weeks from maturity. But drought has really affected things, and some were turning loose in the hull last week. We finally got enough rain last Tuesday or Wednesday (9/8-9) to give us enough moisture to be able to dig.

    “No idea about yields where any have been combined. Peanuts don’t look that bad, on one hand, but we definitely won’t have the yields we’re accustomed to seeing. The fact that they turned loose as early as they have means the weight just won’t be there. I couldn’t guess what yields will be but I suspect they’ll be off significantly.

    “We’re still checking some late peanuts for disease and insects. This has been a terrible season for planning fungicide programs. Every week for at least the last six weeks we’ve had a 50% chance of rain and through much of that time we were at least trying to get a fungicide out ahead of the rain. But then it didn’t rain. That scenario, in fact, played out through much of the summer.

    “Some late leaf spot is now showing up, along with other things we’re trying to identify. A little rain fell 2 to 3 weeks ago – not enough to help but enough to push disease development. Our youngest peanuts are around 90 days old. Based on maturity, they’re 50 days out, but they’ll never get that far. It’s still bone dry. Where we’ve already combined corn, it rained 2.5 inches. How’s that for ironic? Some 135-day peanuts turned loose in the hull two weeks ago in one area and it’s still too dry to put a digger in that ground.”

    Chuck Wilbur, Independent Crop Consultant, Wellington, Texas/Southeastern Panhandle/Southwestern Oklahoma:

    “We’ve had a perfect finish, with warm days and cool nights. The peanuts look really good. A little irrigating is still going on. If it doesn’t rain, we may irrigate one more time up until we start digging.

    “The Spanish are probably 15 to 20 days away from first digging. A  few stressed fields may be dug late this month. Runners and Virginias still need another 7 to 10 days longer before they will scrape enough to grade near mature. I see 4,500 to 5,500 lbs/acre yields. All in all, it’s pretty good.”

    John D. Beasley, South Georgia Crop Services, Inc., Screven, Georgia:

    “We’ve been digging a few ends and just a handful of fields. We have a lot of leaf spot and it’s gotten bad in places in the last couple of weeks. Where peanuts aren’t within two weeks of digging we’re having to keep a fungicide on them. I’m not saying that we’re past insects. We still have light numbers of loopers and fall armyworms, but we didn’t treat any last week and I don’t think we’ll spray this week, based on what I’ve seen so far.”

    Billy McLawhorn, McLawhorn Crop Services, Inc., Cove City, North Carolina:

    “We haven’t dug any peanuts yet. I’ve just started some pod blasting and will be figuring out when to begin. We are getting close to the end.”

    Jaime Lopez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Frio County:

    “We’re seeing some good pod sets, but a little leaf spot is present. Fortunately, it is a mild case and farmers aren’t going to spray. Fields are still being irrigated. We had a little shower the past few days, about a half-inch, but irrigation will probably continue toward the end of September.

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    “One grower told me they should be ready to harvest the first week of October. Farmers believe that yields will be a little above average. Speaking of good yields, we even saw some 4-bale cotton in our area.”

    Josh Thompson, Sales Rep, Helena Chemical Co, Florida Panhandle:

    “We’ve been digging peanuts and picking some. Grades have been coming back pretty good, into the mid 70s on what I’ve heard about so far. That’s kind of what we expected with the mid-April fields. A few dryland fields in places didn’t grade as well, but that was to be expected where it didn’t rain for 45 days. Rain over the weekend (9/12-13) put things on hold a little.”

    Andrew Sawyer, Extension Agent, Thomas County, Georgia:

    “One of our bigger growers started digging two weeks ago (from 9/15), so we’re moving into the third week of digging in places. A little more digging started on one side of the county just after Labor Day and more people are digging now. No word on yields yet. I’ve heard grades that were up to 78.

    “White mold definitely has been an issue. More tomato spotted wilt virus is apparent, and most of our peanuts were planted in the 06G variety. Our overall vine conditions are pretty good. I only know of a few fields where they are weak and peanuts will have to be dug ahead of time compared to what the profile indicates.”

    Jay Chapin, Interim Extension Peanut Specialist, Clemson University, South Carolina:

    “We’ve dug some this week. Scattered digging actually started last week, in fact, and combining began in those fields. Next week, though, harvest will pick up. We still have dry areas with associated problems, and nothing has changed from that standpoint. We sustained damage from lesser cornstalk borers in the driest areas. I was a bit surprised this week about how dry certain areas still are, to the point that you can hardly pull peanuts up. Most people who would spray for velvetbean caterpillars have already done so.”

    John Atkins, Agricultural and Livestock Extension Agent, Santa Rosa County, Florida:

    “Farmers are digging peanuts in most areas now (9/17). Over the last month we received enough rain that most people had moisture to get peanuts out of drier areas. We still have locations, though, where soils remain excessively dry. Some dryland peanuts weren’t dug. Farmers simply baled them for hay. In those driest locations yields ranged from zero to not even a ton an acre.

    “We’ve had heavy, heavy white mold pressure in places, and some fields took serious hits. However, we’re now moving into parts of the county where rainfall was a little more abundant and we’re harvesting some pretty good peanuts. Those won’t be fields with record yields, on one hand, but things certainly look better than they did two weeks ago.”

    Travis Faske, University of Arkansas Extension Plant Pathologist, Lonoke:

    “Maybe four Arkansas growers have started digging (as of 9/17), partly because they have so many acres that they need to begin moving as soon as possible. Also, digging has started in southeast Missouri. By next week a lot more harvest activity will get underway and by September 24 most everybody will be going, weather permitting.”

    Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension Peanut Specialist, Tifton, Georgia:

    “For the most part, things look good. We’ve had rain in the last week or so, which will help with harvest. We still have pockets here and there that have missed rains, but most areas will do okay. All of our April-planted peanuts are up now.

    “Yields will probably be a little off, but we have that tendency to compare the current crop to the best one we ever grew. This one will still be good. We’ll be off some in non-irrigated fields, but we expect that to be the case somewhere in any year. Initial grade reports sound pretty good, too.

    “Some disease issues are still out there, and that’s forcing people to dig certain fields early or come back with fungicides after they thought they already had made the last application. Part of this pressure gets back to trying to economize on fungicide programs or following peanuts with peanuts. In those scenarios you might expect some late-season disease situations.

    “Where growers are harvesting early due to disease, it’s mainly been white mold and leaf spot, but more white mold than anything. Leaf spot came on fairly heavy but also developed late. We’re just now getting into peanuts planted in the first part of May. Harvest isn’t going full-out yet but we’re gearing up for it.”

    Todd Baughman, Oklahoma State University Institute for Agricultural Biosciences, Program Support Leader, Peanuts, Ardmore:

    “We have a month left on a lot of this crop. We’ll need mild conditions for the rest of September and into early October. We’re just a little off on maturity now, too. If we have too many hiccups with the weather, our production may decline.

    “Disease pressure remains light. Things dried off in mid- to late-summer, unlike the cool and wet conditions in the first part of the growing season. With this year’s late planting, we’ll be pressed to make anything like above-average yields.

    “Farmers still need to watch out for leaf spot and be ready to treat. Damp mornings and dew on the foliage can promote leaf spot. Some fungicides can still be applied until close to harvest. We need to be proactive with this. If conditions stay dry, then spraying probably won’t be needed. But if leaf spot appears, applications could pay off.”

    Jason Sarver, Extension Peanut Specialist, Mississippi State University:

    “Harvest is rolling pretty hard right now (9/18). On the high side, maybe 10% of our acreage has been dug, but that number will really jump in the next week or so.

    “This crop falls into two general categories – where people got ample rain and where they didn’t get enough. The driest areas tend to be in south Mississippi and in the Delta, while the crop in northeast Mississippi received better rainfall amounts through the season.

    “In south Mississippi a few loads are coming back at Seg 3 for aflatoxin. That’s unfortunate but not unexpected. We’ll probably see that from some other parts of the state, too. A big portion of our acreage went from the Fourth of July until now without any real rain.

    “Right now I’m in a field in Coahoma County in the Delta that will probably need a rain to get peanuts out, and this is some of the loamiest peanut ground I have ever seen. If digging could start today, they probably could get them out. The soil is right at the edge of having enough moisture to start, but the forecast is in the low 90s for the next couple of days, so further drying will occur. In areas around Greenwood and Tchula you can’t get a digger in the ground right now, and those peanuts already are letting go.

    “Digging has started in northeast Mississippi and those fields look absolutely beautiful. That part of the state will be our bright spot this year. Those peanuts are mostly dryland and have gotten every rain they needed.”

    Howard Small Jr., Ind. Consultant, Colquitt, Georgia:

    “We’re beginning to dig some and quite a few fields are showing zero to three days. Digging should continue into the weekend if the tests show they’re ready, and then more people will be running on Monday (9/21). The forecast calls for dry weather at least for Monday through Wednesday.

    “Peanuts look pretty good, so far. A few nematode spots are showing up and a little leaf spot has developed in a couple of fields, maybe where rain washed off the fungicide. Most fields have been kicking off at 138 to 145 days. Nobody is spraying any more now. The weather has cooled down a bit, so leaf spot shouldn’t eat anything up and white mold shouldn’t be a problem.”

    Kris Balkcom, Research Associate, Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, Headland, Alabama:

    Management Tip from Arysta LifeScience:

    Coverage is Key to Late-Season Application Success

    Control of late season foliar feeders and other insect pests can be a challenge due to thick peanut vine growth, especially with high-speed, low-volume applications. To attain more consistent coverage, lower application speeds and make sure your sprayer is properly calibrated and nozzles are clean and working correctly. These steps help ensure the insecticides reach deep into foliage for improved insect control.

    Also, be sure to scout peanut fields to assess pest populations to increase your odds of success.

    “A little more harvest is going on but probably more peanuts will be dug next week. Drought has clearly hurt areas around central Alabama more so than in other parts of the state. I’ve been in fields where they’ve turned loose in the hull and it’s been too dry to dig. By waiting, that will at least give that part of the crop more time to come off so the loads won’t be docked as badly.

    “We still have worms in places, and some cleanup sprays have gone out. We’re seeing a good bit of white mold. It’s been one of those high-pressure years due to hot temperatures and a lack of consistent rain to move the materials in the soil.

    “Grades, so far, have been running 69 to 78. I hope the later fields grade better. We had a gap in planting dates, and those early fields were hit at the wrong time by that dry stretch in July, and I think that’s where the grade problems are. Maybe the later peanuts will grade better.”


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