Disease control is essential for high peanut yields

In Southwest Farm Press

by Ron Smith

Variety selection, rotation, field history, and fungicide applications play important roles in controlling foliar and soilborne diseases in Oklahoma peanuts, and with depressed commodity markets, the challenge is choosing the right variety, maintaining a proper rotation, and developing an efficient, economical, and effective fungicide program.

“Variety selection is the first decision,” says Oklahoma State University Extension Plant Pathologist John Damicone, who spoke at the recent Oklahoma Peanut Expo at Altus. “But, it has become a lot harder for growers to get the seed they want; they’ve had to plant a lot of varieties from the Southeast lately.”

Market type selected also influences disease control decisions, he says. “Spanish peanuts have less disease pressure, but we get higher yields with Virginias. Growers have to look at the numbers. We’d like to choose varieties that are not as susceptible to disease pressure, but we can’t always get what we want from the shellers.”

Improved genetics and a good arsenal of fungicides provide economic solutions to peanut disease issues, Damicone says. With a disease such as Sclerotinia, producers see a significant advantage from fungicide applications. “We see from 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds per acre advantage with fungicide use.”

A more resistant variety may reduce the need for fungicide application, he says. Lariat, a new runner variety released this year by Kelly Chamberlin’s USDA-ARS lab at Stillwater, shows no yield advantage from fungicide application, but yields are comparable to market standard varieties. “We hope to get it in growers’ hands soon, so they can plant a variety with no need for a fungicide for Sclerotinia blight,” Damicone says.

Read the rest of the story in Southwest Farm Press.

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