Farmers Concerned with “Skippy” Peanut Stands

As we complete peanut planting farmers are heading to the field to analyze the plant stands and weed concerns on a field by field basis. Fortunately with the spring rains and good soil moisture conditions I haven’t seen any replant situations except for a few wet holes that can’t be planted anyway. However, many farmers are finding “skippy” stands below their target populations. We have talked all spring about the cool weather and the potential impacts on seed germination and vigor.

Many farmers are concerned about two issues. 1) Is the plant stand sufficient for top yields, and 2) Did we cut too many corners in seeding rates, in-furrow treatments, thrips treatments, fertilizer rates, etc. The following are my general responses to farmers as we discuss these issues.

1). The University of Georgia has completed extensive research to document plant stands required for maximum yields. Trials were completed in both single and twin-row configurations. For the twin-row configuration, there was no yield increase from replanting stands above 2.25 plants per foot under irrigation. However non-irrigated stands of 2.25 plants per foot on the twin row showed a yield increase up to 750 pounds per acre when supplemental seeds were planted to augment the weak stand. In single row plantings, yield and economic benefits were not often observed when replanting peanut stands of greater than 2.0 plants per foot.

2)Many farmers have made wholesale changes to their program in order to meet the budget requirements of growing peanuts for $400-425 per ton. However I think we can look past these changes and toward the recommendations provided by Dr. Scott Tubbs, UGA Research Agronomist:” 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.”

Professionally speaking, I don’t have any specific concerns about the plant stands we are seeing in the area. We are now seeing the earlier planted peanuts really coming on strong a in the last ten days. This filling in the gaps has eased some of the farmers early concerns.

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