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Cotton and Peanuts; Plant or Not Plant?

Planting time is here, but current weather conditions seem to make us question what we are doing. Hopefully, by next Tuesday we will be out of this cold snap. Until then you may or may not change a thing about planting, irrigating, disease control or nematode control, but need to factor weather conditions into your plans; such may or may not affect decisions.

1. For control of seed and seedling diseases, soil temperature and soil moisture are critical factors on both cotton and peanuts. Cool wet soils increase risk to seed rots and seedling blights to Rhizoctonia and Pythium – in large part because of slowed germination and reduced vigor.  Hot and dry soils increase risk to Aspergillus crown rot on peanuts. This is because the fungus likes hot and dry conditions and the hot soils can damage and scald tender peanut shoots.

2. Our soils, even in this cooler period, are certainly warm enough for planting, BUT cool temperatures coupled with cold rain (tonight) or cold irrigation could cause problems.

3. By Tuesday, we will be back in warmer temperatures, but it looks like we won’t be “too hot and too dry”. Neither “too hot” nor “too dry” should REDUCE the threat of Aspergillus crown rot and early-season white mold on peanuts. However, the cooler weather will not eliminate the risk.

4. The impact of southern corn rust will depend on when we first find it.  There has not been any southern corn rust found in Georgia yet.

We currently have moisture, but the windy conditions are beginning to reduce it. Hopefully, we will get some rain tonight to keep adequate moisture to get crop planted. Whether you are planting, not planting or deciding what to do – all we can do is provide the best conditions for the seed to germinate when they are placed in the soil. There is no right or wrong answer – you just have to do what is best in the field situation you are planting in on your farm under the current conditions.