Some timely mid-summer rains have improved potential for the Southwest peanut crop, though overall production likely will be down because of significant acreage reduction.

“The peanut crop continues to look good,” says Manda Anderson, Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Gaines County.

She says pod development takes three to four weeks after the peg enters the soil until it reaches full size. “Although the pod has reaches full size, kernel development has barely begun. Mature, harvestable pods require 60 to 80 days of development. Therefore, we have passed the final stage of the season where we can have enough time for a peg to develop into a mature pod.”

Growers now should direct efforts toward maturing the crop that’s already on the vines and not trying to set more blooms.

“It is time to slow down the pivots and give the field a deeper soaking irrigation,” she says.

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Anderson says spider mites are showing up in some fields and recommends control measures. “Thorough coverage of the canopy is essential to control an infestation. Often it can take two applications to get satisfactory control of spider mites.”

She says labeled miticides kill only adults not mite eggs. “If conditions continue to be favorable for spider mite development and eggs hatch, then the spider mite population can rebound in a few days. A second miticide may need to be applied.”

Shelly Nutt, executive director, Texas Peanut Producers Board in Lubbock, says peanut potential across the state looks promising.

“From what I'm hearing, peanuts look very good statewide. The cool temperatures and showers in July were extremely beneficial for setting good pegs, and farmers are reporting strong plant vigor with minimal insect and disease pressure.”

“Crop conditions continue to surprise folk,” says Jason Woodward, Texas AgriLife Extension plant pathologist. “Recent rainfall has lessened the effect of drought, compared to conditions earlier in the season.”

But growers have a way to go before they harvest. “If the weather holds and we see a warm finish to August and a warm September and October, I expect better than average yields across the state,” Nutt says.