Author Archives: Maria Balota

Update on peanut maturity, Aug 28

On Aug 26, a pod blasting clinic has been organized at the Indika Farms in Windsor, VA. A total of 24 samples (fields) representing 1056 acres were evaluated. Samples were from Isle of Wight, Suffolk, and a few from Southampton counties. Optimum digging for these samples was estimated to take place in 15 to 30 days from Aug 26, with the majority of the samples showing to be ready in 20 days. Dates for future pod blasting clinics are Sep 9 at Indika Farms (contact Livvy Preisser livvy16@vt.edu for details), Sep 4, 10 and 18 in Southampton (contact Joshua Holland cvfd262@vt.edu for details), and Sep 19 in Greensville (contact Sara Rutherford sriggan@vt.edu for details).

A few pictures from Aug 26 pod blasting clinic are shown below.

Bailey planted on May 8 in a sandy soil in Southampton Co., VA.
Bailey planted mid-May in IOW, VA.
Sullivan planted on May 8.
Emery planted on May 9.

Peanut maturity in Suffolk, VA (planted on May 15 and dug on Aug 13)

According to the Peanut – Cotton Infonet (https://webipm.ento.vt.edu/cgi-bin/infonet1.cgi) online report system, peanut planted on May 1st in Suffolk, Capron, Greensville, and Waverley, VA, accumulated to the date around 2100 °F in all these locations.  It is good to remember that the Virginia-type cultivars grown in Virginia requires around 2600 °F to reach harvest maturity. With sustained daily temperatures at around 90 °F, physiological maturity could be reached in a week or two, then? It is incredible early for a “normal” year but nothing impossible, as the last year taught us.

Choosing when to dig is a big decision and no one should rush to it without checking the maturity first. If dug too early, yields will be significantly reduced from immature seeds (small sound mature kernel and extra-large kernel content on a farmer stock grading rating); this will substantially reduce the price per ton. Immature peanuts of the “high oleic” cultivars like Sullivan, Wynne, Emery, Bailey II, and Walton may not reach the threshold 75% oleic fatty acid content required for the high oleic seed to pass the high oleic standard; this may downgrade the certified seed to commercial status and, again, reduce the farmers pay per ton.  If waiting too long, over-mature kernels will drop off the vines before being picked by the combine, and yield and pay will be substantially reduced in this way.  For example, if only one pod per square foot is shed from over-maturation, the loss per acre could be 100 pounds per acre for Bailey and Sullivan, and even more for Wynne and Emery.  Usually, pod shedding can easily cause 25% yield reduction.

When to dig is, therefore, better to be a knowledge-based decision. This is now possible by the availability of peanut “maturity charts” and pod-blasting “clinics” organized by the Extension Agents and Specialists of the Virginia Coop. Ext. program; clinics will start by end of Aug and continue through end Sep in several counties in SE Virginia.  For example, Indika Farms will host one on Aug 26 starting at 8:00 AM in Windsor, VA.

To provide some guidance for when to start maturity evaluations, pod-blasting of three major cultivars was performed on Aug 13 and images are presented below. Pod samples are from one single field at the Tidewater AREC planted on May 15. As pictures show, the majority of the pods are yellow with less than 20% immature (white or green) and very few orange. Kernels are well developed inside the yellow pods and the orange pods have thin and darkened hulls inside, which is a clear indication that maturity has begun.  I will continue to update on the peanut maturity progress in Virginia in the coming weeks.

Maturity of ‘Emery’ peanut planted on May 15 and dug on Aug 13.
Maturity of ‘Sullivan’ peanut planted May 15 and dug Aug 13.
Maturity of ‘Wynne’ peanut planted May 15 and dug Aug 13.

‘Walton’ a New High-Oleic Virginia-Type Peanut

Early this year, ‘Walton’ peanut was jointly released by Virginia Tech and the University of Florida. Walton is a Virginia-type peanut (Arachis hypogaea L. subsp. hypogaea var. hypogaea) cultivar with similar good agronomic performance when compared with Bailey, Emery, and Bailey II under “normal” production (Table 1), but with superior performance than these cultivars under extreme water deficit conditions.  Seeds are elongated in shape and seed testa color is light pink to pink.  It has dark green foliage; an intermediate growth habit and the main stem is not distinguishable from the lateral branches.  Walton is a high-oleic cultivar with maturity similar to Virginia-type cultivars developed for the VC region. Breeder seed is being increased at the University of Florida in 2019, and more will be produced next year at the Tidewater AREC and in Florida. For commercial production, seed will become available at the earliest in 2021.

Table 1. Results of the Peanut Variety and Quality and Evaluation multi-state (VA, NC, SC), multi-location (5), multi-year (4) (2015-2018)

Variety Yield (lb/A) Crop value ($/A)
Walton 5334 ab 940.0 a
Bailey 5243 abc 920.5 ab
Bailey II 5515 a 978.1 a
Emery 5048 bc 892.5 abc
Sullivan 4876 c 831.6 bc
Wynne 4859 c 826.4 c
Mean 5146 898.2
P>F 0.0128 0.0072

More information it can be found here Walton’ a High Oleic Virginia-type Peanut. Walton will be presented at the VA Peanut Tour on July 30th, at Tidewater AREC.

2019 Virginia Peanut Production Guide

  • The new 2019 Virginia Peanut Production Guide is available at this link https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/SPES/SPES-67/SPES-67.html
  • This guide describes peanut production practices including cultivars, planting, management, and harvest. Under management, information is provided on the optimum time for nutrient and irrigation applications; describes rotations effect on yield; soil preparation, etc. It also identifies major pests for the region including weeds, insects and disease, and how those to be controlled.
  • Archived Peanut Production Guides can be accessed from: http://www.sites.ext.vt.edu/newsletter-archive/peanut-production/index.html

Peanut harvest is coming sooner than we thought this year!

Friday, Sep 7th, a pod-blasting clinic was organized in Windsor, Isle of Wight County in Virginia. Farmers brought samples for maturity evaluation from 40 fields, in majority from the IOW but a few were from Suffolk and Southampton. Samples were taken from fields totaling a minimum of 3100 acres of peanut. Based on the mesocarp color, we identified that one sample was ready to dig, 12 in a week, 15 in a week and a half (10 days), 8 in two weeks, and 4 in three weeks or more. This indicated that two thirds of these fields were ready for digging after this week and after the hurricane Florence has passed.

Peanut varieties planted were in majority Bailey and Sullivan with only very few acres of Wynne and Emery, the last being a new cultivar just released in 2015. On these checked fields, farmers did not irrigate and only one farmer used Apogee, a growth regulator that could have affected maturity. Defoliation due to leaf spot was almost absent in all fields, as it was rootworm damage.

The earliest to be dug, in no more than a week, were fields planted during the first week of May and receiving constant rainfall in June, July, and August. Note that precipitation received in July and August exceeded by far this year the multi-annual average for most fields. Some fields planted in mid-May and constantly rained out, also showed digging approaching in 7-10 days (picture below). The only early May plantings a little behind, 10-14 days from digging, were fields with a dry June, regardless if for the rest of the summer they were wet; and the majority of fields planted in mid-May. Based on the color charts, the fields planted during the last week of May could wait three weeks or more before digging. Meanwhile, several other pod-blasting clinics will be organized to help farmers decide when and what fields to start digging with.

This result came to no surprise. It has been determined that Bailey requires about 2700 °F heat units (or GDD) to reach optimum maturity. The Cotton – Peanut Infonet online service provided by Virginia Tech here https://webipm.ento.vt.edu/cgi-bin/infonet1.cgi shows that by Sep 7th peanut planted on May 1st received 2649 °F in Suffolk, 2637 °F at Capron in Southampton, 2718 °F at Skippers in Greensville, and 2640 °F at Waverly in Sussex. Researchers at the University of Georgia determined that every event of rainfall and irrigation received by a crop at one inch or above has an effect equivalent with 10 °F heat units and can speed up peanut maturity. If so, 100 or 200 heat units are to be added to those measured by the thermometer.  Indeed, under the conditions of this year early May planted peanuts are expected to be ready for digging 7 to 10 days sooner than last year.

Tidewater AREC Sorghum Field Tour

A Sorghum Field Tour will take place at the Tidewater AREC (1045 Hare Road, Suffolk, VA, 23437) on Aug 16. Presentations include biomass sorghum planting date, seeding rates, and nitrogen fertilization. Talks on bioenergy sorghums will also cover feedstock logistics, processing technologies, and economics. Hybrids of grain and biomass sorghums will be presented. The flyer for this event is here Sorghum Tour. If planning to attend, please call (757-807-6538) or email (mbalota@vt.edu) by August 13.

Virginia Peanut Field Tour

A Peanut Tour will take place at the Tidewater AREC (1045 Hare Road, Suffolk, VA, 23437) on Aug 15. Presentations include precision irrigation and crop stress sensing, weed control and tank mixes, and disease and insect management.  Meetings with the new Extension Agents in the Southeastern region will be facilitated. A new rotary peanut harvester by AMADAS will be displayed. The flyer with more details is here. Aug 15_Flyer(5)  Please do not forget to call (757-807-6538) or email (mbalota@vt.edu) if you plan to attend. Hope to see you soon!

Recommended Peanut Seeding Rates for Virginia

Research data, such as those here Seeding Rate-May 2018, showed that saving seed at planting does not return high yields or economic profit. To achieve high yields, we recommend planting 5 or 6 seeds per foot of row, assuming a germination of 80% and above. This is in particular necessary for large seeded cultivars like Emery and Wynne, and under irrigation.  If germination is lower than 80%, which may be the case this spring for some seed lots of Wynne and Sullivan, 6 to 7 seeds are safe to plant but nothing above that. At least, we have not recently tested or heard of a benefit to increase the seeding rate above 7.