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Supplemental seeding in a sparse peanut stand can sometimes show an advantage over a poor stand, says Jason Sarver, Mississippi Extension peanut agronomist, but in most cases the most practical thing with a less-than-ideal stand is to give it careful management through the season.
PEANUT PRODUCERS Kyle McDuffie, from left, and Bud Seward, both of Lucedale, Miss.; and Joe Parker, West Bay Peanuts buying point manager, Mobile, Ala., were among those attending the annual conference of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.
Importance of establishing a stand
“This really drives home the importance of establishing an adequate stand in the beginning, because while 3 plants per foot in single rows and 3.75 plants per foot in twin rows is optimal, in our research if we didn’t get that, we were actually better off keeping the original stands, unless they were very poor.
“Below 3 plants per foot, we started losing yield. On average, across two locations in each of two years, every 1/2 plant per foot reduction below 3 plants per foot resulted in a yield loss of 201 pounds per acre. At $500 per ton peanuts, those are pretty substantial losses attributed solely to plant stands.”
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Twin rows can support somewhat higher stands, Sarver says. Across two locations and two years, average yield was 6170 pounds at 3.75 plants per foot. When plants per foot of row were reduced to 3 and 2.25, yield was reduced by 400 pounds per acre and 456 pounds per acre, respectively.
But again, Sarver says, replanting “was rarely a good option in the Georgia trials — there’s just too much to overcome with a later planting date. And I think that will be the case here in Mississippi, too.”
While those yield reductions were observed, it’s important to note that good yield potential is still there at low plant stands, he says.
“In single rows, yields still averaged 4800 pounds at 1.5 plants per foot and in twin rows yields averaged 5700 pounds at 2.25 plants per foot. While low stands can make a field look bad early in the season, and options for growers with poor stands are limited, these results show that with proper management, respectable yields can still be achieved even when plant stands are disappointing.”
With many growers moving to earlier planting of peanuts, Sarver discussed studies on the impact of soil temperature on germination rate.
“From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, 25 percent to 50 percent of our peanut acreage was planted in April. Then tomato spotted wilt virus came along, wiping out large percentages of the crop.
“Thrips are a vector for the disease, and to lessen the impact of this pest, the recommendation was made to move back the planting window for peanuts to reduce the risk of TSWV. “Today, GA-06G has become basically our industry standard variety in the Southeast, and it has such a good disease resistance package that the recommendation has started to shift back to ‘plant as early as soil and weather conditions will allow.’”
But, Sarver notes, this often means planting when air and soil temperatures are colder.