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Cooling weather impact on peanut planting and row crop disease update

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Cooling weather impact on peanut planting and row crop disease update Submitted photo

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John McLemore, County Extension Agent


Planting season is in full effect causing a stressful period for growers. Growers have many tasks to accomplish, from deciding on products to use for pest management, fertilizer and herbicide application, to equipment maintenance and calibration for ready fields. Planting season is simply tough on a grower.


The 2020 planting season has been difficult for many growers. There are obvious things such as, COVID-19, seed quality issues, commodity prices, unusual cool weather in the month of May, and more. Thankfully, our growers have support from family, UGA Extension, and local agriculture businesses to help them through such a difficult time. Beginning with the next paragraph, today’s newsletter will cover cool weather impacting peanut planting and a row crop disease update. This information was prepared and then sent to agents from Dr. Scott Monfort and Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA Extension peanut agronomist and pathologist, in Tifton, GA.


Cooling weather impact on peanut planting


By Dr. Scott Monfort, UGA Extension Peanut Agronomist


Soil temps around the state are in the high 60’s to high 70’s. The soil should be buffered from a few hours of cold temperatures during the night time as long as we are warming back in the high 70 to mid-80s during the day. The low 70’s daytime and 50’s night time temperatures for more than 1 to 2 days will drive the soil temps down. With this in mind, I would consider not planting until this cold front has passed. However, I know some growers need to continue planting so please consider the following:

  • If you are dryland and you are afraid of losing needed moisture, then I would go ahead and plant.
  • If you are irrigated, you could hold off until the cold front moves out.
  • If you have questionable seed quality, I would wait to plant until it warms up.
  • Soil temperatures can be different across the state. (check your county weather stations)
  • The eastern part of the state will be at more risk than the Southwest part of state.
  • Freshly turned soil will be colder than normal – let field sit for a day or so to warm up.
  • For strip tillage fields with cover, soils are typically colder than conventional tillage fields so you may want to allow extra time for soils to warm up.


What if I have a lot of acres and need to keep planting or I just want to keep planting?

  • Make sure you are planting with good quality seed.
  • Add appropriate fungicide to help with seedling disease.
  • Do not plant more than 2.5 inches deep.
  • Try not to add irrigation during the coldest days where night time temperatures are in the 40s and 50s and the day time temperatures are below 70-75. If you need to go ahead and add irrigation, do not apply more than is needed to activate herbicides.


Row crop May 8 disease update


By Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA Extension Pathologist


Here are my thoughts based on what I see today, and in the near future that may be helpful.


By next Tuesday we will be out of this cold snap. Until then, growers may (or may not) change a thing about planting or irrigating or disease or nematode control, but they should factor weather conditions in to their plans; such may or may not affect decisions.


For control of seed and seedling diseases, soil temperature and soil moisture are critical factors. Cool wet soils increase risk to seed rots, and seedling blights to Rhizoctonia and Pythium, in large part because of slowed germination and reduced vigor. Hot and dry soils increase risk to Aspergillus crown rot on peanuts because the fungus likes hot and dry and because hot soils can damage and scald tender peanut shoots.


Our soils, even in this cooler period, are certainly warm enough for planting. But cool temperatures coupled with cold rain (tonight) or cold irrigation could cause problems.


By Tuesday we will be back in warmer temperatures, but it looks like we won’t be “too hot and too dry” (we will be in Goldilocks weather). Neither “too hot” nor “too dry” should REDUCE the threat of Aspergillus crown rot and early-season white mold on peanuts, but not eliminate risk.


I am expecting earlier out-breaks of soybean rust this year as the disease is already well-established in kudzu on the Coastal Plain.


The impact of southern corn rust will depend on when we first find it. We HAVE NOT found it yet.


If you have questions, please contact John at the Coffee County Extension office at 912-384-1402.


Remember, if you ate today, please thank a farmer!

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