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Fungicides work primarily as a preventive, says Alan Henn, Mississippi State University Extension professor of entomology and plant pathology, who spoke at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association. “Once you have a disease, it’s a lot harder to manage than if you head it off with a proper application of fungicide.”
ALAN ORTLOFF, from left, president of the Clint Williams Company, Madill, Okla.; Marshall Lamb, director of the USDA/ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory, Dawson, Ga.; and Lee Talbot, Brooks Peanut Company, Samson, Ala., were among those attending the annual meeting of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.
Peanut Rx program
Mississippi growers may be able to reduce fungicide costs over the conventional program by using the Peanut Rx Program that was developed by researchers in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
“This program has proven successful in those areas for several years, and some growers in Mississippi are trying it on their farms,” Henn says.
Compared to the conventional fungicide system cost of $130 to $160 per acre, costs using the Peanut Rx program are about $96, Henn says.
The program uses field history, variety, rotation, and other factors to determine the risk of infection from a particular disease. After risk has been assessed, a prescription fungicide recommendation can then be developed.
“Because of the relative newness of peanuts in Mississippi, disease inoculums should be low in many areas of the state,” he says.
In Mississippi studies, leaf spot applications were made at 45 and 105 days after emergence, and white mold applications were made at 75 days after application.
“The number of fungicide applications was reduced from seven in the standard program to three in the Peanut Rx program, at a cost savings of approximately $70 per acre,” Henn says. “This represents a significant reduction in fungicide program cost and should give Mississippi producers a competitive advantage, provided the system is not misused. Rotation is critical to reducing disease inoculum.
“There are also newer varieties available that can provide higher yield potential and disease resistance as well. By incorporating these newer varieties into the Peanut Rx program, Mississippi growers may be able to even further reduce the need for fungicides,” Henn says.
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