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Peanut Planting Dates

With the warming temperatures the last few days, I know there a some people itching to plant a few peanuts. But lets not jump the gun and wait for temperatures to warm up a little bit more. Although we expressed the need for earlier planting dates to maximize yields in our county meeting this year we still need to wait for a warmer trend to set in. Here is what Dr. John Beasley, Extension Peanut Agronomist, has to say about planting too early…..

It is April 9 and, although I strongly encouraged early planting of peanut in the county production meetings, I warned of the issues with planting too early because of four-inch soil temperature being below 65 degrees. The following is a statement from Pam Knox, our Agricultural Climatologist and UGA Peanut Team member, in the recently posted Peanut Pointers newsletter.

“Temperatures this winter have swung wildly from cold to warm and back again. This is typical of a neutral pattern with no El Niño or La Niña present in the Pacific Ocean. In a neutral year, the chance for additional cold periods and a late frost are greater than usual and so planting should be undertaken with caution.”

We are in the midst of this type pattern. As a result we are seeing warm days and cool to cold nights.

Watch soil temperature very carefully! We have not seen any stability in the four-inch soil temperatures across the peanut belt. It is too risky to plant at this time!!

Here are the four-inch soil temperature readings for the past 4 days at five selected sites.

Location

April 5

April 6

April 7

April 8

Attapulgus

61

63

66

68

Camilla

58

61

65

68

Tifton

56

58

61

64

Plains

54

57

61

64

Midville

55

59

62

65

Even though the four-inch soil temp has almost reached or exceeded 65 degrees as of yesterday (Monday, April 8), the forecast low temperatures over the next several days will keep soil temperatures below 65 degrees. Here are the forecast low temps at Tifton for the next six mornings: 60, 64, 60, 49, 51, 57. A cold front is scheduled to pass through on Thursday bringing rain and cooler temperatures. Soil temperatures going down instead of up will lower yield potential (data from our trials the past three years). Data from one of our current research trials (Grey, Beasley, and Harris) indicate we see a significant bump in seed germination when we go from 65 to 70 degrees so it is to the growers advantage to wait until the soil temp is closer to 70 than 65.

If you have any peanut growers wanting to go ahead and plant “just because it is almost April 15”, tell them to wait! They will be at a great risk for a very skippy and erratic plant stand if they plant before April 15 with the current soil temperatures and forecast lows the next several days!!

We should wait and monitor the forecast going into the middle of next week before making any planting decisions. This year is shaping up a lot like 1993 when the four-inch soil temperature was not warm enough to plant until late April.

I’ll try to keep you up to speed on the soil temperatures but don’t forget you can monitor the soil temperature on the Georgia Weather Network web site. There is a “peanut” link on the left-hand side of the home page. Click on it and a drop down link will give you the “soil temperature” link to all reporting sites in the Georgia Peanut Belt.