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Cooler Temperatures? Things to Consider about Peanut Planting

Peanut growers will need to consider different factors with the cooler temperatures that we will be experiencing the next few days and nights. Following are some thoughts from UGA Extension Specialists, Dr. Scott Monfort and Dr. Bob Kemerait. Also, for more weather information, check out the website http://weather.uga.edu/ to get data from nearby weather stations.

Dr. Monfort on Agronomics:

  1. If the grower is dryland and afraid of losing needed moisture, then I would go ahead and plant
  2. If irrigated, the grower could hold off until cold front moves out.
  3. If you have questionable seed quality, I would wait to plant until it warms up.
  4. Soil temperatures can be different across the state.
    1. The eastern part of the state will be at more risk than the Southwest part of state.
    2. Freshly turned soil will be colder than normal – let field sit for a day or so to warm up
    3. For strip tillage fields with cover, soils are typically colder than conventional tillage fields so you may want to allow extra time for soils to warm up.
  5. What if I have a lot of acres and need to keep planting or I just want to keep planting.
    1. Make sure you are planting with good quality seed
    2. Add appropriate in-furrow fungicide to help with seedling disease
    3. Do not plant more than 2.5 inches deep
    4. Try not to add irrigation during the coldest days where night time temperatures are in the 40s and 50s and the day time temperatures are below 70-75. If you need to go ahead and add irrigation do not apply more than is needed to activate herbicides.

Dr. Kemerait on Diseases:

1. By next Tuesday, we will be out of this cold snap. Until then, growers may (or may not) change a thing about planting or irrigating or disease or nematode control, but they should factor weather conditions in to their plans; such may or may not affect decisions.

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

3. 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.

4. 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, but not eliminate risk.