Our Peanut crop has suffered from several different challenges this year during the growing season. The dryland crop specifically has had increased insect pressures and drought conditions to overcome.
As we are getting ready for harvest season, peanut growers need to consider a couple of things in the coming days.
As we begin examining the peanut crop readying for harvest, growers need to examine every field of dryland peanuts to making digging decisions. This year digging peanuts at a set number of days after planting may be a BIG mistake as the dryland crop is not maturing normally. Also the dryland samples that I have examined using the hull-scrape method have been variable at best. Dryland Peanuts that are more than 100 days old (planted on or before June 2) should probably be examined as many dryland fields have stopped maturing and are coming loose in the hull.
Here is a picture of a pod out of a dryland field where the kernels have already turned loose from the hull:
If growers find that peanuts in their field are beginning to turn loose, they need to begin making digging decisions based on several factors including number of pods with kernels loose in the hull, vine health, upcoming weather, and soil moisture. Contact your local extension agent to discuss these decisions in greater detail and for specific field recommendations.
Segregate Dryland Corners
Once harvest begins, growers need to consider segregating the peanuts they harvest in the dryland corners (or areas that received poor irrigation) from the peanuts that are harvested from irrigated areas. It does not take many poor quality pods to cause a load of peanuts to be graded as Seg 2 or worse. Growers need to consider separating these areas using a disk harrow and keeping them separate as they are loaded onto trailers. Do not let a few bad pods from a dryland corner affect the grade on an entire load of otherwise good quality peanuts.
If you have any questions or want to further investigate the maturity in your dryland peanut crop, contact your local county agent for assistance.