Organizers of the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award have reviewed production data from previous winners to arrive at a “Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability.” This list of successful production practices is being presented in descending order with sponsorship provided by DuPont Crop Protection. The Peanut Profitability Awards, based on production efficiency in whole-farm situations, is entering its 13th year and is administered by Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory, and his staff.

Coming in at No. 10 and 9 in the “Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability” are two production practices that are closely related — twin rows and planting date.

Both of these practices have changed over the years in an effort to battle the threat of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and they continue to evolve with the introduction of genetically improved peanut cultivars.

No. 10: Twin rows

 “We still think that the twin-row pattern overall, in multiple years with multiple trials, still works the best, and our new cultivars are still responding positively just as our older varieties did,” says John Beasley, University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist.

“We have been looking at 30-inch single rows, since we have growers who are planting corn in that pattern, and we have found that 30-inch rows will work, but the trick is getting them dug properly,” he says.

“The biggest trick there is that you end up with 2,900 extra linear feet per acre, which at six seed per foot or row, is going to increase your pounds per acre planted. If you’re planting 36-inch singles, you need to back up your seeding rate from six seed per foot to five seed per foot.”

Seeding rates continue to be tweaked, says Beasley, because new cultivars come out that grow differently and have different yield potential.

“We’ve tested the seeding rates for these new large-seeded cultivars, and on a single-row pattern, we’ve seen where we can back down to five seed per foot of row and save costs without sacrificing yield.

“So when we get one answer, then we have to go back to the drawing board. We have to evaluate all of these new cultivars on factors such as twin versus single rows, conventional versus reduced tillage, different planting dates and populations, and calcium requirements, to name just a few.”

Row pattern is an important consideration in deciding the seeding rate, says Scott Tubbs, University of Georgia cropping systems agronomist.

 “For single-row peanuts, you’re planting a seed at 12 inches or 1 foot of row. You’ve got six seed per foot being planted — that’s a seed every 2 inches from an adjacent seed being planted. In a twin-row pattern, we’re taking out half of those seed and moving them over to an adjacent row.

“Looking at data from 2011 trials, 85 percent of our twin-row peanuts had survived by the end of the season. Seventy-three percent of the peanut seed in single rows survived. We used the same seeding rate and the same management,” he says.