Peanut growers urged to take care of the basics

By Tom Lollis

picking peanutsThe state’s peanut crop, worth about $30 million, increased to around 60,000 acres in 2005, well above the 33,000 acres harvested in 2004. But growers need to take care of the basics if they want to make a profit, said Jay Chapin, Clemson Extension peanut specialist.
Getting more than a dollar back for every dollar invested is important, especially in a year like 2005. Late summer drought and heavy rains at harvest reduced the average yield to 2,800 pounds per acre last year, down from the 3,400 pounds in 2003 and 2004.
Still, some growers had good yields last year. Britt Rowe of Riverside Farms in Lee County averaged 4,493 pounds per acre to win the State Peanut Yield Contest sponsored by the S.C. Peanut Board. Ricky Kneece of Lexington County was District II champion with 4,112 pounds per acre.
Chapin advises growers to follow Extension programs for control of weeds, diseases, and insects; to use liquid inoculants instead of granular materials; and to avoid nutrient supplements that have not increased yields in tests at Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville.
He also advises against overuse of chemicals containing strobilurin for disease control. More than two applications a year could cause diseases to become resistant to the treatment.

For information: Jay Chapin, 803-284-3343, ext. 226,