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Preparing for planting season

Scott Monfort and Scott Tubbs

April is upon us and many growers are busy preparing ground for planting peanut. Growers
need to be aware of seed quality and the weather/soil conditions at planting in order to achieve
adequate plant stand establishment. Stand establishment sets the overall yield potential for
every peanut field in the state. University of Georgia Extension recommends growers plant 6
seed per foot to obtain at least 4 uniform plants per foot. This will aide in the reduction of
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) incidence and maintain high yield potential. It is important
for growers to know (or ask for) the % germination of the seed they are planting so seeding
rates can be adjusted appropriately.

Please follow your local weather conditions as you approach planting. The UGA
recommendation for minimum soil temperature for peanut planting is to maintain a daily 68 F
average for three consecutive days with no threat of cool weather in the next week of the
forecast. The only exception is if it is a non-irrigated field where soil temperatures are 65 to 67
degrees F and there is adequate soil moisture but no rainfall in the forecast. In this case, I
would make use of the moisture instead of losing the chance to plant. Please remember the
closer to 68 degrees the soil temperature is the faster the emergence rate.
As we begin the month of April, only several South Georgia locations have reached the
temperature minimum.

Soil temperatures from the Florida line up to Fort Valley were between 64.2 and 69.8 degrees last week!

However, those average temps will be dropping over the first few days of April because of
cooler air temperatures with highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s.
With the added threat of several days of rain in the forecast through April 8 for most of South
Georgia, it is anticipated that the earliest optimum planting conditions will be reached around
April 10-13 depending on quantity of rainfall received and soil moisture conditions in fields. It is
expected that planting activities will ramp up quickly during the week of April 15 unless there
are significant changes in the forecast.

Herbicide injury (typically Valor injury) is always a topic of conversation this time of year.
Several people have asked questions like, “Do I need Valor?” or “Are there ways to minimize
injury?”. The answer is Yes to both questions. Eric Prostko consistently says “the key to
managing weeds is to start clean and use the UGA recommended herbicide programs.” With
this in mind, one of the key components of recommended weed programs is Valor. It provides
the initial protective barrier needed to allow peanut plants time to emerge and cover the
ground before weeds have the opportunity to become a problem. The issue is “what can a
grower do to minimize Valor injury?” Growers can minimize injury by:

Planting High Quality Seed (Germ and Vigor). Seed quality is important in 2019. Find
out the % germ of peanut seed that has been purchased.

Planting in Good Moisture and Temperature allowing the seed the best opportunity to
germinate and emerge quickly.

• Planting peanuts at the Correct Depth of at least 1.5” deep. Planting shallower can
increase risk of Valor injury along with germination issues, if soil dries out too quick.

• Applying Valor no later than 2 days after planting. The risk of Valor injury goes up
significantly the closer Valor is applied to peanut emergence.

Irrigating as soon as possible behind the Valor application to activate herbicide and
reduce injury. Valor injury can still occur after a hard rain during cracking and
emergence even though a field was irrigated after application.

Not irrigating during cracking and emergence unless the fields are hot and dry and need
irrigation to ensure a good stand. Typically, the lack of moisture can result in more
stand loss than the loss from Valor injury.

Tips to prepare for peanut planting are available in the 2019 UGA Peanut Production Quick
Reference Guide, available online at:
Additional information on peanut production and management can be found at:

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