Every year brings new challenges to peanut growers across the South, and this year, there was a lot of discussion on what happens beneath the surface. Our biggest challenge when it comes to soilborne diseases continues to be white mold; however, with cooler than normal temperatures and abundant rainfall in 2021, Rhizoctonia was also an issue for peanut growers.
In late September, I attended the Tri-state peanut disease tour hosted by Alabama Cooperative Extension System, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Extension and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension to see the latest technology in action and to hear from growers and researchers about this year’s top underground issues.
Tools to fight white mold. The best way to prevent white mold is to be on a good crop rotation and have a solid fungicide spray program. Be mindful when scouting fields that white mold can show few above-ground signs, and it is important to dig up plants to fully assess what is going on with the crop during the season.
Rhizoctonia. We had a wet season, with cooler temperatures that brought more Rhizoctonia pressure. This fungus can severely affect the limb crop in peanuts and result in reduced yields. Seed treatments, crop rotation, and good fungicide spray programs can help with less-than-ideal planting and growing conditions to limit Rhizoctonia pressure.
Root-knot and lesion nematodes. If you’re not already, consider sending soil samples to a diagnostic lab at least every few years to evaluate nematode pressure across your acres. Effective diagnosis of nematodes takes more than a visual inspection. Ideally, sample the top 8 inches of soil with a probe, and label each sample. Remember, early fall is the best time to sample for nematodes.
These pressures aren’t unique to 2021, and I expect we’ll continue to see white mold, Rhizoctonia and nematodes as part of planting conversations in 2022. Looking ahead with fungicide plans is a solid step. There are a lot of resources out there when it comes to planning, including Peanut Rx. It was designed in partnership with University of Georgia, University of Florida, Auburn University, Mississippi University and Clemson University, and accounts for variety, timing, tillage and rotation, disease pressure and more. For disease management, I continue to recommend Excalia™ Fungicide for fields facing white mold, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia blight and leaf spot.
Hunt Sanders is a field market development specialist at Valent U.S.A. LLC.
Growers looking to learn more about preventing white mold and Rhizoctonia, the Peanut Rx tool and Excalia should check out Valent.com/Excalia.
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