Mid-Late-Season Water Needs in Peanut
Water is an issue that has been on everyone’s mind this year and for many of us, it has not been our friend. It was wet early, keeping us from getting in the field for land preparation and planting. Since then, it seems like the only rain we’ve received have come in the form of popup storms. We haven’t had a true ‘rainy day’ all summer in most locations across the state. Having said that, we had a good early pod set and are still set up to have a decent crop, with potential for a good crop if the weather pattern shifts from this point forward.
Right now (August 10, 2015), a May 5 planted crop is at peak water use, using around 3/10 of an inch of water per day and slightly over two inches per week. Most of us haven’t received anything close to that lately. If rain does begin to pick up, the early wet conditions and resultant late planting could be a blessing in disguise, as a May 15 planted crop is still 1.5 weeks away from peak water use and a May 25 planted crop is still about three weeks away. For those that planted early, don’t abandon hope for big yields. The extreme non-determinate growth habit allows the crop to go through periods of stress and then rebound nicely when favorable conditions return. Keep in mind that depending on conditions, it typically takes 5-7 weeks for a peg that has just entered the soil to become a sound, mature kernel. We are still within a window that a late flush of pods could mean bigger yields at harvest.
From this point until harvest, we want to do our best to make sure the crop is not water limited. Peanut is unique in that it is using almost an inch of water per week right up until digging time. If you have the ability to irrigate, don’t terminate too early. For optimum yield potential, don’t let your crop become drought-stressed from now until the end of the season. Research from Georgia has shown that up to 30% of yield can be made in the last three weeks of the season. Having said that, soil moisture conditions must be right at digging time. Over-watering late, in addition to the ever-present chance of a wet fall, can spell trouble at harvest time. Big yield potential means nothing if we can’t get the crop out of the field. As always, don’t hesitate to call, especially as it gets closer to making harvest decisions. A large percentage of my fall is spent making harvest timing recommendations and I’m always happy to do it.
Jason Sarver, Peanut Specialist, Mississippi State University
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The estimated $7.6 billion value of Mississippi agriculture increased by 1.8 percent in 2016, helping the industry retain its prominence in the state's overall economy.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- With few problems this year, Mississippi’s peanut growers should see a good crop.
“Overall, peanuts are doing very well,” said Jason Sarver, Mississippi State University Extension Service peanut specialist. “Peanuts in south Mississippi received consistent rain throughout the season. We were really dry for a while across northeast Mississippi and the Delta. But between days 70 and 80, we started catching some rains across both regions that helped make a nice crop.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Neither crop yields nor prices were particularly bad in 2015, but Mississippi’s estimated state agricultural production value still dropped to $7.2 billion, a 4.9 percent decrease from the previous year.
Brian Williams, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the decline in agricultural value has two causes.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers planted more peanuts in response to economic factors that made the crop an attractive choice this year, but a lack of rain now has them expecting average yields.
Mississippi has 42,000 acres of peanuts this year, up 45 percent from what was planted in 2014. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 84 percent of the crop is in fair to good condition.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi producers had another successful year of peanut production, but the honeymoon phase for this crop is probably over.
Jason Sarver, peanut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said between 2005 and 2011, Mississippi growers produced an average of 18,000 acres of peanuts a year. The majority of this acreage was in the southern part of the state.