Peanut harvest in our part of North Florida started in the second half of August; with the digging of peanuts planted in the first days of April. Rainfall and more recently, Hurricane Irma, have put a dent in our progress. We have had measurable rain in the county 31 of the previous 40 days from this writing. Frequent small showers delayed early progress. More recently, concerns over digging ahead of Hurricane Irma, and now, wet soil conditions following Irma are all building in delays.
I have been “podblasting” a lot of peanuts as we slowly grind through harvest. Although we had some dry pockets with delayed maturity, this year seems to be the “earliest” peanuts I have dealt with, overall. If somebody asked me what trends I see, it is the Georgia 06G ready to dig at 130 days. Unfortunately this early maturity is coinciding with tough harvesting conditions. I haven’t had the opportunity to dig in to the weather archives to see if this is from more growing degree day accumulation, or rainfall. However, I suspect a combination of both. All of the sudden the combination of early maturity and harvesting delays make it feel like we are 2 weeks behind.
We know there are a lot of “wives-tales” in agriculture, and I am probably guilty of keeping several of them going myself. One that rests somewhere between fact and wives-tale is that a black peanut can hold on the vine for 10 days. I have experienced many cases where growers insist they lost 500 pounds of yield by harvesting a week late. One simple to read report from Dr. David Jordan, Extension Agronomist with NC State University, pooled data over 17 experiments and 10 growing seasons. What stands out in those data to me, is that peanuts could hold for a week. But they couldn’t hold for two weeks. You can find that relevant information HERE.
As we wait to get back into the fields. It is my impression that early maturity took the first week, and Hurricane Irma took the second week. I encourage you to pay close attention to peanut maturity and make all efforts to harvest your crop in a timely manner this fall.