Peanut and Corn Field Day highlights effects of variable weather

BLACKVILLE — Weather conditions are always a variable for row crops, and peanuts are no exception. For South Carolina growers this year, with traditional harvest time just around the corner, some crops could be behind schedule.

Scott Monfort, Clemson University Extension peanut specialist, who writes the Peanut Update for Clemson Agronomic News, said this summer’s weather has been no exception.

Based on recent samples, several April-planted fields of Virginia variety peanuts are ready to dig or are within a week of being ready, Monfort said. But in some cases the lack of rain, too much rain, cooler conditions or cloudy skies has put some crops a week or two behind.

“Not all April-planted Baileys are ready,” Monfort said. “And Runners planted in April are still two or three weeks away from maturity.”

While there are four types of peanut varieties grown in the U.S., the two major types grown in South Carolina are Runner and Virginia. Bailey is a Virginia-type peanut and encompasses a large percentage of Virginia-type peanut acres in the state.

“Growers easily over- or under-estimate maturity of the crop by pulling a sample from only one spot in the field,” Monfort said. “I suggest growers check their fields more than once and in multiple locations to get a more accurate reading on the maturity of the crop.”

The Clemson University Edisto Research and Education Center hosted a Peanut and Corn Field Day Thursday, where scientists and researchers presented findings from this year’s variety trials.

The field day included overviews of variety comparisons, insect management and soil-borne disease research and new technologies.

Clemson precision agriculture specialist Will Henderson explained a demonstration project that utilizes a twin-row planter for peanuts. The planter, which typically is used for corn, carries a hopper that can hold about 1,000 pounds of seed. The seed was planted across a field moving at three speeds: two mph, four mph and six mph.

Precision agriculture is the practice of using remote-sensing, soil-sampling and information-management tools to optimize agriculture production.

The intent is to improve the accuracy of applying water or chemicals in a field. The finite management of precision agriculture is in contrast to whole-field or whole-farm management, where decisions are uniformly applied. This approach helps protect the environment and improve both yields and the grower’s bottom line.

The demonstration project will help determine if planting peanuts at such rates improves or adversely affects yield.

“Planting peanuts is a long, slow process,” Henderson said. “Any improvements in efficiency can save a grower precious time and money.”

The field day concluded with an afternoon indoor session that covered corn insect and weed management, and results of a seed populations study and field trial results. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.