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Early to Mid-Season Irrigation for Peanuts


Wesley Porter, Extension Precision Ag and Irrigation Specialist, UGA
David Hall, Extension Water Educator, UGA
Jason Mallard, Extension Water Agent, UGA

Similar to May of 2021 which was very hot and dry, we had some very hot and dry weather during May
of 2022, dry enough that we have needed to apply some small irrigation events to our young peanut
crop. While we have received some sporadic rainfall across the state, this either was not enough to
adequately meet the water requirements or it was missed. Thus, even though we do not typically apply
irrigation to peanuts early in the season, years such as 2022 may require some applications to ensure it
has adequate moisture.
Keep track of the graph below or use our Irrigation Reference Guide for Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, and
Soybeans | UGA Cooperative Extension
in the field throughout the month of June, stay on top of your
irrigation requirements. Contact your local Extension office if you need a copy of the irrigation reference
guide. If you planted your peanuts during late April or early May, most of these earlier planted peanuts
will be beginning to bloom, so expect water usage to gradually increase. Peanuts will begin flowering on
average around 40 days after planting.

Remember the water requirement is IRRIGATION and RAINFALL! Also consider irrigation efficiency
especially on hot dry days. A typical pivot is 85% efficient, so don’t under-irrigate, but at the same time
don’t over-irrigate either as research has shown reductions in yield just as significant for over-irrigating
as for under-irrigating. Good record keeping and a sound irrigation scheduling strategy can aid
significantly in increasing profitability in multiple ways, including reductions in irrigation applications,
correlating to reductions in energy requirements, and potentially increases in yield.
A couple of quick reminders regarding irrigation of peanuts. Early irrigation applications can tell you very
valuable information regarding your water application uniformity. If a Mobile Irrigation test was not conducted, pay close attention to the way your soils dry out after an irrigation application. If your
peanuts were planted into conventional tillage, this will be easy to see especially prior to full canopy
closure. Visible bands drying out quickly or bands staying wet for longer periods are signs of poor
uniformity. Go to these areas of your pivot and address them now. As the peanut canopy develops and
laps, the obvious signs will not be visible. Hot dry weather makes it easy to see if your pivot was working
properly due to the extreme heat and drought. The under applying nozzles are easy to see by the
evidence presented as stressed crops in bands under the pivot. Doing the same thing twice expecting
different results is never good.
Lastly, if you are using soil moisture sensors and have “weighted” the sensors, now is the time to
reweight the sensors because of increased root development and crop progression. Consider using
other tools in conjunction with your moisture sensors. IrrigatorPro (https://irrigatorpro.org/) integrated
with a soil moisture sensor system through UGA trials has repeatedly shown higher yields than the
Checkbook method. For more assistance and information on IrrigatorPro usage, contact your local UGA
Extension ANR Agent, additionally, The IrrigatorPro website includes a step-by-step video tutorial on
how to download the app.

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