On peanut acreage
Open weather, good moisture could make it hard to cut back

Ron Sholar encourages Oklahoma peanut growers to put last year out of their minds and concentrate on making a good crop in 2001.

“We learned in 2000 that we can do everything right, but if it don't rain, it don't matter,” Sholar told a group of Caddo and Kiowa County farmers last week.

“Peanuts had a bad year in 2000, but everything else was worse,” he said. “Peanuts are still the best game in town.”

Sholar said farmers have no guarantees about weather but they can make choices to give them an opportunity to make a decent yield.

Variety selection is a first step, he said. “We've been getting information out of Georgia about success with twin-row peanuts, a 10 percent to 15 percent advantage. That's mainly with Georgia Green, a bunchy peanut that does not lap middles.”

Sholar says a 5 percent increase is about all an Oklahoma peanut farmer can expect from twin rows. “I wouldn't invest in new equipment for that small an increase,” he said. “And Tamrun 96 will do as well in single rows as in twins.

“Plant a variety that suits your system,” he said. “And don't believe everything you read about varieties. Georgia Greens, for instance, have a place in Oklahoma. It may be hard to find seed, but this is an early peanut, some seven days earlier than Tamrun 96. It might be a good idea to plant a few Georgia Greens to spread harvest and risk.”

Most growers, he said, will depend on Tamrun 96. “That's the toughest runner peanut I've ever seen.”

In tests last summer, Tamrun 96 out-yielded other varieties for the fourth year in a row. He said Okrun performs well in clean soil. “But planted on the same ground over and over, it begins to tail off. That's where Tamrun 96 will shine.”

Inoculating peanut seed will pay off, too, he said. “We have some new inoculants that perform better than some of the older ones, but it doesn't really matter all that much which ones you choose; either will be better than nothing.”

Sholar recommends farmers “plant what you can water satisfactorily.” He said water resources were sorely stretched last summer, when temperatures in August hit 100 almost every day. And rainfall was virtually non-existent from July through September (1.29 inch in July, 0.1 in August, and 1.25 in September) during peanuts' peak demand period.

“But with temperatures hitting 105 or 108, water wouldn't have done much good anyway,” he said.

Sholar said farmers may have a hard time cutting back acreage if they have open weather and adequate soil moisture at planting. “But if they run out of water, they'll pay a price.”

He also recommends caution with fertilization. “Don't add too much,” he said. “If you fertilize for your rotation crop, you probably don't need phosphorus and potassium. If levels are medium to high, leave it off. You will not lose production.”

He also discussed weed control, a potential for high production costs. He advised farmers to know weed species and select the best herbicide program to fit the problem.

For pigweed, he said a preplant incorporated herbicide could be followed with an at-cracking or pre-emergence application of Dual or Pursuit.

“Or, you can follow with a post-emergence application of Cadre or Basagran. We don't recommend Cadre behind Pursuit.”

He said Basagran, Blazer, Storm, Tough or 2,4-DB are other options.

He said eclipta is “the toughest weed I've seen. Use a ppi treatment, then an at-cracking or pre-emergence application of Dual plus Pursuit. Cadre is an alternate but it is not as effective as Dual plus Pursuit.

“Or you can follow with a post-emergence application of Cadre or Basagran (two applications).

He said Strongarm also is extremely effective against eclipta. “But avoid Strongarm in high pH soils, 7.2 or higher.”

Sholar said some growers have reported crop injury from Strongarm. “I've not seen it (injury) with six years experience in Oklahoma Extension tests,” he said. “The proof will be at the end of the season, if a grower can show good yields. I've seen no real failures in my research.”

Sholar recommended farmers check labels before using Strongarm. “There are changes for 2001.”

Sholar said Valor, a pre-emergence material, also shows good eclipta control. “It's also good on copperleaf and excellent on pigweed. It's fair, at best, on yellow nutsedge and should not be applied alone. We've seen low injury potential from Valor.” Growers should be aware of potential rotation restrictions.”

Sholar said Valor offers a new mode of action that should add an important new tool for weed control. “It should be cleared for 2001.”

e-mail: ron_smith@intertec.com