Just because peanut input costs are up, prices are down and supply is burdensome doesn’t mean growers should make wholesale production cuts to save a few dollars.

“Inputs we cut affect the bottom line,” says Chad Godsey, Oklahoma State University Extension peanut specialist.

“It all starts with planting,” Godsey said during the recent Oklahoma Peanut Expo at Lone Wolf, Okla. “Good yields depend on a good stand, good inoculation, good weed control and rotation. We need at least two years out of peanuts and three or four is ideal. Grass crops such as corn or grain sorghum are excellent rotations and cotton is also good. Pay attention to the details.”

Those details include variety selection. Godsey recommends diversifying varieties to spread risks, both in production and markets.

He said runner varieties typically offer the best disease tolerance packages. “Grow Virginia peanuts on rotated or new peanut ground. Stay on top of leaf spot with Spanish peanuts.” He said Spanish varieties offer a maturity advantage, ready to harvest in 130 to 140 days after planting. Runners are mature around 160 days and Virginias fall somewhere in between.

Peanut farmers should look at performance history of varieties they intend to plant, evaluating both yield and grade. Disease tolerance, best planting dates and anticipated harvest schedule also are important considerations.

Godsey said variety trials from 2007 offer some insight into what farmers might consider for 2009 planting. OSU conducted trials on Spanish, runner and Virginia types in three locations.

In the Beckham County tests, Tamrun OL07, Tamrun 96 and ARSOK-R1 produced the best yields and the best revenue per acre. Tamnut 06, AT 98-99-14, Spanco, and ARSOK-S1 were tops in the Spanish trials.

Godsey said Virginia trials showed no significant advantage for Gregory, Perry, Jupiter or Brantley.

In Hydro trials, Tamrun OL07 and Flavorunner 458 were tops but only slightly better than ARSOK-R1, Tamrun 96 and SW Runner. Tamnut 06 and Olin were the best Spanish peanuts. Jupiter and Perry topped the Virginia trails.

In Caddo County runner trials ARSOK-R1, Tamrun 96, Tamrun OL01 and SW runner topped the list. AT 98-99-14, Spanco and ARSOK-S1 were the top three Spanish varieties. And results showed little difference between Perry, Jupiter, Brantley and Gregory Virginia types.

Godsey said peanut growers should take time to evaluate what worked in 2008 as they plan for the 2009 crop. He said pre-plant incorporated or pre-emergence herbicides are important basics for weed control. “Tillage and seedbed preparation or effective burndown herbicides should eliminate all emerged weeds prior to planting. Apply cracking or post-emergence weed control products as soon as you observe weeds.”

Godsey said an intensive weed control program includes pre-emerge applications of Prowl H2O, Dual and/or Valor. “Apply glyphosate or other burndown products two to three days after the pre-emergence treatment. Add Dual between cracking and 28 days after planting.”

email: rsmith@farmpress.com