Cool and wet conditions early delayed the Southwest peanut crop, which will need adequate heat units during the growing season to make good yields.
Producers in Texas and Oklahoma hope to see more normal weather conditions during the growing season and also hope to avoid an early frost.
(Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
Texas AgriLife Extension Agronomist, Kimi Kimura, Vernon, Texas, says heavy spring rain prevented planting for some producers, primarily in the Central Texas production area. Overall, acreage will be off from 2020.
“We have planted 170,000 acres in Texas, which is 20,000 acres lower than 2020 planted acres,” Kimura says. “We normally harvest 5,000 to 10,000 fewer acres than planted acres, so I expect we will harvest approximately 160,000 to 165,000 acres this year — if everything goes okay.”
She says the crop got off to a slow start. “Planting season started with colder than normal temperatures in April and May. Prolonged wet field conditions prevented farmers from timely field operations. This was worse for Central Texas producers, many of whom were not able to plant peanuts due to wet field conditions.”
Continuous rain also delayed planting. “Therefore, it will be critical to have a good heat unit accumulation throughout the season to make a good crop and without an early freeze like we had in 2020.”
So far, producers who were able to plant have a decent crop coming along, she says. “Planted peanut acres are looking good with the adequate subsoil moisture, and recent rain also helped to replenish surface soil moisture.”
Weeds will be a problem. Kimura says some producers have reported herbicide injury from hormone-type herbicide drift issues. “Peanuts will recover from the injury,” she says.
Ample rainfall has spurred weed infestations and limited control options. “Due to the limited dry field conditions, it is difficult to make herbicide applications at the proper timing,” Kimura says. “My concern this year is weed pressure. Weeds also benefit from the rain.”
Oklahoma’s peanuts went in on time or perhaps a bit early, says Oklahoma State University Extension Professor and Weed Scientist Todd Baughman.
“But they were slow coming out of the ground,” he says. “Still, final stands seem to be okay.”
Baughman says Oklahoma producers planted from 15,000 to 17,000 acres of peanuts, about normal. Most of Oklahoma’s peanut acreage is in Lariat, ACI 080, ACI 476, Ole, Span17, and Contender.
“Peanuts looked fairly normal once they had achieved a stand, but they have been extremely slow growing since. I would say the crop is behind at this stage. Even with warm weather, peanuts didn’t take off like I would have expected.”
Moisture is more than adequate. “Most of the peanut producing areas have received 10 or more inches of rainfall since planting,” Baughman says. “We received 2 to 6 inches of that in the last 3 to 4 days (last week of June). With most, if not all our acres irrigated, it’s always good when we take some pressure off irrigation.”
As in Texas, weed control will be a struggle. “Weeds are our biggest issue right now,” Baughman says. “Residuals are not holding up as well as we would expect because of the early season rain and slow crop development. As might be expected, weeds were slow-growing to begin with but unlike the crop, when the week of warm weather hit, they went from 0 mph to 100 mph overnight.”
(Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)
Baughman says weed issues are worse in fields “where we didn’t have a full residual program. Now, finding windows to spray post-emergence herbicide treatments is more difficult. Growers should make sure to include a residual with any post herbicide treatments.”
Disease pressure is light
Disease pressure, so far, has been light, even with a lot of cloudy, wet weather, Baughman says. “Even with the leaf spot advisory indicating we have exceeded the leaf spot hours, we are not seeing significant infection at this time. Growers should continue to scout fields carefully and have an active fungicide program planned to prevent disease from getting out of hand, especially with the continued wet weather.”
Baughman says Oklahoma is coming off the second highest yield in state history.
For producers in Oklahoma to meet that benchmark and for Texas to equal last year’s production, they will need to take care of their usual business—timely weed and disease control and irrigation as needed.
They also will need Mother Nature to cooperate with good weather from here on out.