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Peanut Crop moving out of “Grace Period”

Peanut Rows

The area peanut crop is moving right along and most of the crop has entered the growth stage when the majority of the harvestable peanuts will be set.  Here are some recent comments from Dr. Scott Tubbs, UGA Extension Peanut Agronomist on the topic:

The USDA Crop Progress Report for Georgia says peanuts are 77% blooming and 42% pegging as of July 6.  The report from June 1 also showed that we were 85% planted by June 1.  Thus, the timeframe that I like to call the “grace-period” for peanuts (between emergence and blooming) is over for most of the crop.  This is the timeframe where the plants do not have any reproductive capacity and can tolerate periods of dry spells, minor damage from insects and light weed competition, and other nuisances without major concern of yield being affected.  However, once blooming and especially pegging starts to occur, the final output is in play and money can be lost if the crop is affected by lack of water, pest incidence and other factors that impede growth.  Thus, be sure growers are using their inputs wisely so the crop does not suffer from avoidable troubles.  Considering most of the harvested crop is set between 40 and 90 days after planting, the management decisions and timing over the next month to six weeks are going to be what determines the full yield potential.   Many parts of Southwest GA and the primary peanut producing areas have had little to no rain in the last two weeks as much of the crop is entering the critical phase of initial pod set, when most of the densest, highest grading peanuts are going to be formed.  The water requirement at this stage is entering or already in the 1.5 inch per week range, so if irrigation is possible, it is important to not fall behind since subsoil moisture is being depleted rapidly with no rainfall in two or more weeks now in some areas.

Below is the water use curve for peanuts provide by UGA Extension Engineer Dr. Gary Hawkins.

Use this chart as an indication of what the peanuts need at different maturity and planting dates.  This chart can also be used as a guide to how much water is needed by peanuts.  If the particular field has received ample water to produce the crop, then irrigation may not be needed.  Also be aware of the fact that soil type has an impact on the amount of water available to the crop.  For sandy soils, a high intensity rain will more than likely infiltrate and may provide needed water for the crop, however, in heavier soil, the same intensity rainfall will potentially have high losses due to runoff because it will not be able to absorb the water as well as the sandy soil.  On the other hand the heavier soils have a higher water holding capacity and will retain moisture for longer than sandy soils.

Peanut Water Use