New technology may soon allow Mid-South peanut growers to make decisions on irrigation scheduling and digging with greater accuracy and ease.

PeanutFARM (Field Agronomic Resource Manager), a group of tools to allow growers to manage peanut development and maturity, has been in development for several years by University of Florida researchers, says Jason Sarver, Mississippi State University Extension/research professor, who spoke at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s summer peanut commodity meeting. Sarver assumed the peanut specialist post in January.

“It works as an irrigation scheduler, but perhaps more importantly for us, it uses temperature and rainfall/water data to determine optimum peanut harvest time. It can eliminate a lot of the judgment calls involved in the present methods of pod blasting and profile boards.”

STAY CURRENT on what's happeningin Mid-South agriculture: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.

The system tracks adjusted growing degree days (aGDDs), using upper and lower daily air temperatures, plus the amount of water the crop receives from rainfall and irrigation, to predict development of the crop. In addition to tracking peanut maturity, aGDDs are used by PeanutFARM to help schedule irrigation by estimating crop canopy cover and daily water use.

This daily water use is then modified using weather data — which can be automatically drawn from state networks or input for individual fields, depending on grower preference. As the grower develops his/her own profile, each field can be managed separately and processed by PeanutFARM to accurately predict the need for irrigation and optimum harvest time.

“The purpose of PeanutFARM is to provide a producer with tools to ease both in-season and harvest management decisions,” Sarver says.