Early Peanuts Cracking…Still too Early?

IMG_20140409_122726_641[1]I am seeing peanuts planted on April 1st just cracking the surface as of April 10th. This emergence timing is typical for the fields we get planted around the 1st of April each year.  There are a few acres planted locally where farmers are trying to plant into available soil moisture and stretch their harvesting window by getting some peanuts planted early, some in the optimum window, and some on the tail end. The farmers in the southern extreme of the peanut belt including Levy and Gilchrist Counties have been planting aggressively for a week or so.  Dr. Scott Tubbs, UGA Extension Agronomist recently updated us about risks of planting the Georgia 06-G cultivar  too early this year.  Most of our peanut farmers in Columbia County are still looking at the week of April 20th to get their crop planted.

Here is the update from Dr. Tubbs: Shortly after my March Peanut Pointers article on Soil Temperature and Peanut Planting, I received a message from Scott Hobby, the Seed Regulatory Program Manager at the GA Dept. of Ag. Seed Lab in Tifton.  Mr. Hobby stated that GA-06G has been struggling with germination this year in the laboratory’s cold tests.  Overall seed germination results are good, but the drastically reduced germination in the cold test is further evidence that growers need to be cautioned about planting their peanut seed too early when there are still strong possibilities for a cold front to drop soil temperatures rapidly, which could lead to poor, erratic plant stands.  There has not been a single location in South Georgia this season that has reached 68 F at the 4-inch soil depth, much less sustain that as a daily average temperature for at least 3 consecutive days.  Most of South Georgia is due for more rain this weekend (April 5-7), followed by low temperatures in the upper 40s through at least April 10 according to the extended forecast.  Thus, the 80+ F temps over the last few days (through April 2) are enough to be dangerous, causing some growers to be “itching” to put some seed in the ground, but I don’t believe this would be a good idea based on the forecast.  This forecast through April 10 leads me to believe we are still on target for initiating peanut planting no earlier than around April 20, depending on the weather forecast beyond April 10.  It will take several days with highs in the 80s and lows in the mid-50s or higher to drive the soil temperatures back up toward 68 F and keep them there for 3 consecutive days, so please urge growers to be patient and not pull the planting trigger too early so they are not having to face less than optimal plant stands or be faced with the decision of possibly having to replant. Source: Peanut Pointers, April 2014

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