February 3, 2023
Growers make critical, complicated decisions daily. For many farmers, university Extension remains a source of non-biased, research-based information.
As friend and colleague Dr. David Langston, formerly with UGA and now with Virginia Tech, told me recently, “Bob, I don’t recommend ANYTHING to growers unless it works when I need it to in my research trials. I get behind a product if I feel good about it helping growers to be successful.If a product fails, a company can expect no support from me. In fact, the company can expect quite the opposite.”
David’s sentiments are echoed by all in Extension
Like Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and other myths, there are half-truths and fallacies growers accept as facts, but which add cost, not profit, to their operations.After conversations with my buddies on the UGA Peanut Team, I compiled a brief list of myths not supported by research, but which we often encounter in conversations.
Myth: Peanut variety ‘Georgia-06G’ is playing out in its resistance to tomato spotted wilt disease.
My response:There is no evidence resistance in Georgia-06G or its yield potential is different than it has been in the past.As per Peanut Rx, choice of variety is one of a number of factors used to minimize risk to tomato spotted wilt. In a tough year like 2022, variety selection alone may not be sufficient to adequately protect a peanut crop from significant loss.
Myth: Thimet is effective against spotted wilt because of its efficacy in killing thrips.
My response:Thimet (phorate) is an effective product to minimize early-season damage from thrips, but there are other products that effectively control thrips as well.Only use of Thimet reduces risk to tomato spotted wilt.This is unrelated to “killing thrips” but rather in that use of Thimet initiates a defense response within the peanut plant that reduces incidence of spotted wilt.
Myth: “If we can kill all the thrips (read: all the thrips migrating into the peanut field), we will reduce the incidence of TSWV.”
Response from UGA Extension entomologist Dr. Mark Abney:The truth is that it would be impossible to kill all of the thrips migrating into a field, no matter how hard we tried.Even if we could kill them all, the thrips would still be able to successfully transmit the virus while feeding on the peanut plants before they died.
Myth: Adding fertilizer in-furrow won't hurt peanut growth or yield.
Response from UGA Extension specialists Dr. Scott Tubbs, supported by Dr. Scott Monfort and Dr. Glen Harris:Both growth of the crop and ensuing yield can be reduced when fertilizer is added in-furrow with the peanut seed at planting.This is not only from UGA research, but from other published studies.
Myth: “Mixing inoculant with an insecticide such as acephate, imidacloprid or phorate will reduce their efficacy/yield. So, I'll leave one or the other out of my in-furrow application.”
Response from Dr. Scott Tubbs as determined from published research: “There is no detriment when mixing any of the above with inoculant for in-furrow use.”
Myth: Late season use of fungicides, like thiophanate methyl or copper, will increase peg strength at harvest.
My response: Research does NOT support that late-season use of these products leads to increased peg strength.To protect peg strength and yield, growers should harvest on time and protect the crop throughout the season from leaf spot, white mold and nematodes.
Myth: “Don’t worry if white mold starts to get out of hand, an application of fungicide like “SuperBrand X” will stop it dead in its tracks!”
Response from UGA plant pathologist Dr. Tim Brenneman: “With the tools we now have it would be crazy not to start on a good white mold program by 60 or no later than 70 DAP. As far as stopping it, it may be easier to stop white mold than leaf spot once it gets going. However, the more that white mold develops underground, the more that statement will be quickly negated! Keep playing with fire and you will get burned!”
Myth: "I would rather plant Georgia-06G with higher yield potential and use a nematicide than plant a nematode-resistant variety.”
Response from Dr. Tim Brenneman: “This may be true under modest nematode pressure and previous cultivars, but under heavier pressure that is not the case. Also, the newer nematode-resistant lines like TifNV-HG have shown high yield potential even with no nematode pressure!”
Myth: “I’ve only got two caterpillars per foot of row, but I need to go ahead and spray because they might blow up before I get back for my next fungicide spray.”
Response from Dr. Mark Abney:“This is not an unreasonable statement and as such it costs growers quite a bit of money each year. In my experience, a lot of caterpillar populations in fields that have not been disrupted by insecticides never reach threshold. I do get why folks do it, though it may not end up making them more money.”
Myth: “I need to put some pyrethroid in the tank with my next fungicide to clean up any insects in the field”
Response from Dr. Mark Abney: “This is not nearly as common as it once was, but there are still some growers who do it. Not many real peanut pests will be controlled effectively by a pyrethroid insecticide, but it is great (sadly) for killing beneficial insects.”
Myth: “We don’t need to calibrate application equipment that much these days because of all the advanced technology”.
Response from UGA Extension specialist Dr. Simer Virk: “This is completely inaccurate as we still need proper calibration for technology to function correctly.In fact, we actually calibrate more in some cases due to all the sensors and controls that technology relies on for ensuring accurate application.”
Myth: “2,4-DB makes pods bigger”.
Response from UGA Extension specialist Dr. Eric Prostko: “Data from Georgia shows that DB has no effect on pod size.”
Thanks to all who helped with this article. My brothers from different mothers.
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