Precision is the watchword at Peanut and Corn Field Day

By Peter Hull

Peanut field dayWhen you wash a dog, you do your best to keep the soapy water on the dog -- and not on everything else.  

The same is true in applying irrigation or chemicals on the farm: You want to put them just where you need them, when you need them there.  

It's called "precision agriculture," and it's important not only for producing higher yields, but controlling costs and protecting the environment.  

It was also a central topic at the Peanut and Corn Field Day at Clemson's Edisto Research and Education Center this fall, when experts presented the latest techniques and findings from recent variety trials.  

The field day included overviews of crop variety comparisons, planting techniques, insect management, soil-borne disease research and new technologies.  

Clemson precision agriculture specialist Will Henderson led farmers through a demonstration project that uses a twin-row planter for peanuts. The planter, which typically is used for corn, carries a hopper that can hold about 1,000 pounds of seed. The seed was planted across a field moving at three speeds: 2 mph, 4 mph and 6 mph.  

The demonstration project will help determine if planting peanuts at such rates improves or adversely affects yield.  

"Planting peanuts is a long, slow process," Henderson said. "Any improvements in efficiency can save a grower precious time and money."