Looking ahead to the 2019 peanut crop, growers are being advised not to plant more peanuts than they did last year to prevent an oversupply and lower prices. That was the recommendation UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Monfort shared at the 43rd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference.
“We need to stay at acres we are now or drop them down a little,” Monfort said. “Will this happen? It will depend on what cotton prices do.”
At the end of November, UGA Extension reported Georgia farmers produced 628,000 acres in 2018, down from 714,168 in 2017.
Monfort’s main recommendation for growers' 2019 crop is to not cut corners on things known to provide a positive financial return like quality seed, needed soil amendments indicated by soil tests, insect and weed control.
Concerning disease management for the coming crop, UGA Plant Pathologist Dr. Bob Kemerait is encouraging peanut growers to use in–furrow fungicide treatment to protect their crop against diseases. He says this year growers will be able to request whether their seeds are treated with Rancona or Dynasty PD depending on what seed dealers have available. Kemerait said both fungicides are very effective.
“For plant stand protection, whether you use Racona or Dynasty PD for seed treatment, you can expect good performance,” Kemerait said. “The bottom line is don’t plant without seed treatment for fungicide.”
’18 crop assessment
Most of the yield loss Georgia farmers had in their 2018 peanut crop was due to wet, cloudy weather experienced before Hurricane Michael. “We had Michael stuck in our head as the main weather event, but even without Michael we had weather issues that impacted our peanut crop,” Monfort said. “We were about 60 accumulated heat units behind normal for June and July.”
Monfort said 60 to 65 percent of Georgia’s peanut crop was harvested when Hurricane Michael hit. He blamed the wet spring and cloudy weather during the bloom period of the 2018 crop for diseases that decreased crop yields.
While Hurricane Michael did delay harvest by damaging peanut infrastructure across the peanut belt, the storm helped some growers.
“Hurricane Michael helped us get the dryland [peanut] crop out because we were pretty dry before it hit,” Monfort said. “The non-irrigated yields saved the state average. Dryland peanuts gave more yields than irrigated due to all the rain they received.”
Despite obstacles peanut growers faced, Monfort said the 2018 crop was better than expected. Although Georgia’s pea- nut crop lost an average of 800 pounds/ acre in yield due to disease, the average yield per acre was 4,382 pounds/acre, which Monfort called “phenomenal.”