While weather and markets are beyond the peanut grower’s control, there are factors for which decisions by the producer can have a direct impact on the success of the crop, says Scott Tubbs.

And those decisions can save money, or cost money, he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association,

“Early stand establishment is key to the entire peanut production scenario,” he says, “and seeding rate is probably the factor over which you have the most direct control. Other factors over which you have the ability to make choices include row pattern, soil pH, variety selection, fertility, tillage method, soil temperature and soil moisture at planting (via timing of planting the crop), and tractor speed when planting.”

Seed size will affect planting costs, notes Tubbs, who is associate professor and cropping systems agronomist at the University of Georgia/Tifton.

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“Large seeded varieties, such as Georgia-06G, Georgia-07W, Florida-07, and Tifguard, can average between 600 and 650 seed per pound, with 135 to 145 pounds needed per acre at the standard planting rate of 6 seed per foot of row, or 3 seed per foot of row in a twin-row pattern.

“Medium seed varieties can average 650 to 725 per pound, and small seed varieties, 725-plus per pound. So, depending on variety, there can be more than 25 pounds per acre difference in the amount of seed used.

“A few years ago, seed price went as high as $1.20 per pound, so there can be a $30 per acre difference in seed cost simply from variety selection.  Similarly, changing the seeding rate by one seed per foot of row could alter seed cost by about $27 per acre using the same variety. So, increasing the seeding rate to boost plant stand could result in a reduction in net revenue if only a minor yield increase is realized.

“At an arbitrary contract price of $500 per ton, a 100-pound yield increase wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of planting one additional seed per foot of row, and net revenue would be lower than if a lower seeding rate had been used.