2022 Peanut Disease Update

Bob Kemerait, an extension plant pathologist works hard to take the information that is developed by the researchers at the University of Georgia and put it into a form that growers can use to make a difference in their profitability. That’s the whole key for growers in Georgia, how can we become more profitable.

There were three takeaways Kemerait spoke about on the 2022 Georgia Peanut Tour. The first was stressing important diseases can be in terms of the profitability and yields. One of the most important diseases he talks about was tomato spotted wilt virus. It is spread by a small insect called thrips. It has been especially bad in the 2022 season and anything and everything growers could do to manage that disease ends when they closed the furrow. Currently, at approximately 125-130 days, you may see tomato spotted wilt virus apparent in some fields but there’s nothing growers could have done other than the decisions they made at planting time. Some of those decisions are what variety to plant, what to put in the furrow, and what time to begin planting. You’re also likely to see leaf spot diseases and white mold disease. All these diseases are especially devastating if they’re not controlled.

The second topic Kemerait spoke on was the effort by not only by the University of Georgia, but by neighboring states as well, to try and develop strategies for managing diseases. This work is also in conjunction with peanut breeders who look to find varieties that have greater resistance to diseases like leaf spot and tomato spotted wilt virus. This work is done to ensure we become more profitable and remain profitable. The industry also has help from agrochemical industries. Agrochemical companies safely, efficiently, and effectively produce products that we can put out to protect yields for our growers. Growers in Georgia, except for a very few organic growers, cannot grow their crop successfully if they don’t fight diseases like tomato spider wilt virus, leaf spot, and white mold. All the production practices are integrated into an extension tool called Peanut RX. Peanut RX is a tool that our growers can use to find ways to better manage their crop based upon the risks because if diseases are not managed, the yield could be off by thousands of pounds.

Lastly, Kemerait stressed the importance of recognizing the investment that goes into protecting these farmers and their fields. The investment comes from the farmers as they invest the Georgia Peanut Commission. It comes from the growers themselves because diseases are a significant problem for profitability in Georgia peanut production and only by managing them are we effective and remain some of the best peanuts.

View the 2022 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.