He plants with two Monosem planters, a 6-row and a 12-row. According to research at the University of Georgia, twin-row peanuts can increase peanut yield by 300 pounds to 400 pounds per acre. “I’m not sure about the higher yields, but the twin rows lap the middles so quick, so it helps with weed control,” Pierce said.

His primary peanut variety is Georgia 06G, a high-yielding, tomato spotted wilt virus resistant, large-seeded runner-type peanut variety that was released in 2006 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations.

As soon as peanuts are planted, Pierce will apply Valor and Roundup. “The peanuts come up clean and they’re easy to keep clean. The Valor has some residual that keeps weeds down until we make an application of Cadre and 2,4-D or Strongarm about 30 days after planting.”

When the time comes to make a fungicide application on his peanuts, Pierce would much rather be early than late. If it’s likely that a weather front will be coming through when a spray is scheduled, he’ll get to the field right away, rather than wait. “Timing is everything in peanuts,” Pierce said.

The first fungicide treatment is typically made 45 days after emergence, and every two weeks after that until peanuts are out of danger, primarily from leaf spot and white mold. He’ll alternate fungicides Tilt, Bravo, Convoy and Initiate and will piggyback a micronutrient, boron, and Holster for stink bugs. The applications are made with a John Deere 4730 or John Deere 6700.

Disease and rotation

When cotton prices were high several years ago, Pierce went with two years of cotton and one year of peanuts. With cotton prices falling, he’s gone to a 1-1 peanut/cotton rotation, and hasn’t seen a drop off in yield due to disease yet.

“It may catch up with us down the road. But you can’t make money growing 80-cent cotton at 900 pounds to 1,000 pounds per acre. Our money is in peanuts. I’ve paid for things I didn’t think I could ever pay for with peanuts. Peanuts have been good to us. They’re our bread and butter.”

At harvest, Pierce runs three, 6-row KMC peanut diggers, four, pull-type Amadas combines and one self-propelled Amadas. Peanuts are hauled to West Bay Peanut in Wilmer, Ala., or Birdsong in Atmore, Ala.

Typically, Pierce’s peanut yields average 2.5 ton per acre. “Last year, our yields were a little over 4,800 pounds. The first seven years we grew peanuts in Stone County, Miss., we had one 540-acre field where we averaged 6,300 pounds.”