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Oklahoma peanut growers hope for better outcome in 2001

“I don’t know what to tell growers in production meetings this winter,” says Oklahoma State University Extension specialist Ron Sholar. “I certainly don’t want to be a cheerleader, but I don’t want to be all down in the mouth, either. I’m still trying to determine how to approach the year.”

Most of Oklahoma’s 2000 peanut crop was hard hit by hot, dry summer weather and then by an early cold snap that caught much of the crop just about harvest-time.

“Oklahoma farmers can still make money from this crop, but not with dryland peanuts,” Sholar says. “Growing peanuts without irrigation is just too risky.”

He says even farmers with irrigation have to look hard at capacity. “Many are trying to water too many acres,” Sholar says. “They simply ran out of water last summer. They know the secrets to success in peanut production. Sometimes we just lack the discipline.”

He says farmers should start by looking at their long-range average rainfall patterns. “They have to make up the difference with irrigation. So, if the long-term average is 12 inches, they’ll need to apply at least 10 more inches to make a crop. And that’s 10 inches effectively applied on the crop, not blown away with the wind.”

Sholar says Oklahoma peanut farmers should continue to plant Tamrun 96. “There is no reason not to plant these, but we also need some Georgia Greens.”

Georgia Green is an earlier-maturing variety and Sholar says that buys Oklahoma farmers some time and spreads their risks. “Georgia Greens may be considerably earlier than Tamrun 96,” he says.

Georgia Greens have had problems with uneven kernel splits, however, and buyers have not been eager to buy them.

“Grades are high, yields are good and we need to plant a few and see if we can convince folks to buy them” he says.

“WE don’t have any new varieties for 2001.”

Sholar says farmers may have one new herbicide for 2001. “Valor may be cleared for 2001,” he says. “That will add to our weed control arsenal. Previously, we were limited to Cadre. Then last year we had Strongarm for the first time.”

Sholar says growers learned a lot about Strongarm in its first year. “We learned about strengths and limitations,” he says. “It is essential that growers stay within the label. If it’s applied off-label, they will not be covered.”

Sholar says new herbicides also could help farmers by providing competition and lowering prices.

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