All good things must come to an end

2014.09.16-18 GA PNTour 1255Peanut tour attendees were able to wind down after two full days of peanut education, and what better way to do so than being treated to the traditional low-country boil and friendly fellowship the Georgia Peanut Tour has to offer. This year the low-country boil, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, was hosted at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga. The “Bamboo Farm” as many locals call it got its name from the historic bamboo groves and trees planted in the early 20th century.

Historically, it was a USDA plant introduction station, starting in 1919. Today, this newly developing regional botanical garden contains 51 acres of historic plants, ornamental gardens, lakes, farm buildings, and pick-your-own berry fields. What was once a USDA plant introduction station is now becoming a complete botanical garden and horticulture showplace for residents and visitors to the area. Marvin Stewart, regional sales rep. with Dow AgroSciences, has attended all 28 peanut tours and sponsored the low-country boil every year. Supper was finished up with a variety of ice-cream including peanut butter.

2014.09.16-18 GA PNTour 1280This year the tour boasted 170 attendees from 15 states and 4 countries including Canada, Malawi, Paraguay and Australia. The representatives from Malawi presented the tour committee with some homemade gifts.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

Harvest at Hub Daniel’s farm

2014_gpt_252sThe last field stop on the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour allowed attendees to see harvest up close at the farm of Hub Daniel in Tattnall County. At earlier field stops the ground was too wet for farmers to demonstrate peanut digging or picking. Daniel is a fifth generation farmer and has been farming for 34 years. He grows 2,700 acres of peanuts, corn, soybeans, cotton, wheat, rye and pecans. Check out this video where WTOC recognized Hub Daniel. While at the farm, attendees were able to see Daniel harvest his peanuts with a KMC combine and continue to pick peanuts by using KMC’s unload on-the-go. This option saves farmers time loss to dumping by allowing continuous harvesting.

Unload on the Go

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Jefferson & Jenkins County crop update

Wade Parker, Jenkins County Extension agent

Wade Parker, Jenkins County Extension agent

Even though the Georgia Peanut Tour did not travel through Jenkins or Jefferson County this year, an update was provided by local county extension agents. Both agents demonstrated how farmers determine maturity through the peanut profile board. Wade Parker, Jenkins County Extension agent, showed attendees how farmers pod-blast their peanuts before placing the sample of the maturity profile board. He says, knowing when to dig peanuts can mean the difference between loosing and gaining 200 lbs. per acre. The pod-blasting process is a good method in mitigating peanut losses.

Parker, updated tour attendees on agricultural production in Jenkins County. Parker stated the major crops grown in Jenkins County are cotton, soybeans, corn and of course peanuts, where they planted roughly 5,550 acres this year. “The most troublesome issue for farmers this season would have to be the dry weather the latter part of July and first of August,” Parker says. “Spider mites are a major problem in peanuts. Most farmers are hoping for a timely harvest operation in order to avoid a costly treatment” he adds. Thirty-five percent of the counties peanuts were irrigated compared to 65 percent that were dryland.

Pam Sapp, Jefferson County Extension agent

Pam Sapp, Jefferson County Extension agent

Pam Sapp, Jefferson County Extension agent, also provided an update on Jefferson County. The county has a total of 6,500 acres of peanuts planted this season with an estimated production of 3,600 lbs. Jefferson County mainly plants cotton, corn, soybeans and peanuts. Peanuts in this county are 40 percent irrigated and 60 percent dryland. According to Sapp, the most troublesome issues farmers have faced in this area have been lack of rainfall and a late season.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Vidalia Valley is more than just onions

20140918_vidaliavalleyAfter finishing up lunch at UGA’s Southeast Research and Education Center, tour participants continued their trek to the land of onions. Wait a minute. This is supposed to be the Peanut Tour. What are we doing visiting an onion area? Well, since Georgia is known for its sweet onion, the Vidalia Onion, it is only fitting to learn a little about Georgia’s famous tear-jerker while in this part of the state.

Tour attendees arrived at Vidalia Valley in Lyons, Georgia. Vidalia Valley is owned by the Stanley family, which is a 6th generation family of Georgia farmers. Brian, R.T. Jr., Tracy and Vince are the current generation to grow the business from a local, seasonal farm to a year-round, multi-location and multi-functional group of integrated businesses. They not only grow the country’s famous Vidalia Onions, they farm over 4,000 acres of other vegetables and row crops. Vidalia Valley, the processing facility, bottles thousands of cases and millions of pounds of peeled and diced onions including reds, whites and yellows, each year. Vidalia Onion Farms, IQF facility, freezes millions of pounds of diced onions, carrots and sweet potatoes each year. Vidalia’s Best, the fresh produce facility, grows and distributes fresh cucumbers, melons and sweet potatoes. When it comes to fresh and processed produce, the Stanley’s and their integrated business are your East coast source for ‘Farm Direct Made Easy.’

During the tour of Vidalia Valley, tour participants were given a tour of the facility. At this particular facility, onions grown by Stanley Farms, as well as outsourced onions are shipped in, peeled and sent into manufacturing or further processing. During Vidalia Onion season, which runs from April to August, representatives from Vidalia Valley said they ship out 40,000 pounds a day of whole, peeled onions. Through Vidalia Valley’s processing facility, products such as relishes, salsas, dressings, vinaigrettes, jams, jellies, specialty items, barbeque and hot sauce, as well as organic products are created. Many of the products can be found on Vidalia Valley’s website,, and some are created for other restaurants and retailers. Vidalia Valley even develops peanut related products for consumers, such as a Thai peanut sauce and a peanut butter barbecue sauce for Paula Dean. Click here for one of Paula’s recipes using the peanut butter barbecue sauce!

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

New products for disease control

Bob Kemerait, Georgia Peanut Tour chairman and University of Georgia Extension Plant Pathologist, reviewed some of the new products available for growers in 2015. His main focus is helping to train county agents and work with the growers in terms of management and reducing the impact of diseases in their fields. He is also given the opportunity to conduct research on new products for the management of leafspot, white mold and other soilborne diseases in peanuts.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Peanut disease update

Attendees also learned about peanut diseases from Dr. Tim Brenneman, University of Georgia research and Extension plant pathologist. His main research on peanuts revolves around soil borne diseases including white mold, Rhizoctonia, Cylindrocladium black rot. He also works on nematodes and nematode management. He works on a very active program developing fungicides and overall management programs for farmers. According to Brenneman, the 2014, crop has not been severe for disease issues so far. Early on we had a few issues with seedling disease, Aspergillus Crown rot and getting good stands established. That was early in the year so most farmers were able to get a reasonable stand. “Recently, we have had a lot of underground white mold and I think we are in the initial stages on seeing how that will develop,” Brenneman says. “I think there is a lot we will learn as peanuts are being dug.”

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Calcium – important nutrient for peanuts

While at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center, Glen Harris University of Georgia Extension soils and fertilizer specialist visited with attendees about calcium nutrition for peanuts. For the last three or four years we’ve really focused on calcium nutrition on peanuts, Harris says. The focus started when the industry shifted from small seeded to large seeded peanut varieties. Harris has been comparing the varieties and the calcium requirements needed. According to Harris, he found out that growers can maintain using the University of Georgia old recommendations on the new larger seeded peanut varieties.

Since then, Harris’ research has shifted more into looking at ways of providing calcium to the pegging zone of peanuts which is really important for the yields. He is also looking at different gypsums, calcium chloride and lime through the pivot. Although, the old standard Extension recommendation is if you need calcium then apply 1,000 pounds of gypsum at bloom time is still the standard today for growers.

The 2014 peanut crop of irrigated peanuts look good but the dryland peanuts have suffered a little. As far as nutrients, Harris says, he hasn’t noticed any major nutrient problems. However, he is a little concerned with the calcium nutrition in dryland because you need the water to get the calcium into the nut so you don’t get pops. “So, we might find that we have a little lower yields and pops, due not only to the drought, but maybe even due to some calcium issues,” Harris says. He says there’s not a whole lot growers can do about that, if you do everything you can and still get dry weather. But overall, the 2014 crop, nutritionally, is looking very good, he adds.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

Peanut pests in 2014

2014_gpt_047sMark Abney, peanut entomologist at UGA, visited with Georgia Peanut Tour attendees during the three-day tour on the various pest issues and the research he has been working on the last two years.

“Some of the things that are really exciting to me in terms of entomology research are the economic thresholds we are developing for a lot of the pests we have in peanuts,” Abney says. “That’s very important to growers so they know when to spray or not to spray so that we are not wasting money by not treating when we need to or by over treating when we don’t need to be spraying.”

Abney also has an efficacy testing program where he looks at all of the new chemistries and some of the older chemistries on the established pests we have to determine what is the best product to use for the pests we have in peanuts.

According to Abney, 2014 has been a very buggy year. He says the year started out early with thrips, very much like in 2013. Then growers went straight from that to some caterpillar problems that have been higher than a normal year.

The two things that have been really problematic for growers this year have been lesser cornstalk borer and two spotted spider mite. “Those are probably the two most important pests we have had in Georgia. They are not a pest every year but when they are it can be really problematic,” Abney says.
“We have spent a lot of money and heartache trying to control those two pests.” Both pests are very difficult to control especially in non-irrigated fields with the hot and dry conditions we have seen in 2014, he adds.

Abney credits the Georgia Peanut Commission for the research funding he receives and says it is extremely important for what he does at UGA. Without the funding, it would have been very difficult if not impossible to get his research program started. “We wrote a grant last year and received some money from the Georgia Peanut Commission which we were able to use to leverage with USDA to receive a larger grant from USDA this year,” Abney says. “This allows us to work on some of the thresholds for the key pests we have and without the Georgia Peanut Commission support we would not be able to do the research.”

Abney also has a blog where he provides growers the latest information on peanut pest issues at

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Research focus on tillage, row patterns, seeding rate & replanting

During the visit at the Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center Scott Tubbs, University of Georgia cropping systems agronomist, explained his research focus and provided an update on the 2014 Georgia Peanut Crop. The primary focus of his research program is to look at different aspects of peanut agronomics such as tillage, cover crop effects prior to the peanut crop, row patterns, seeding rates, plant populations, different planting date affects such as replanting and many other agronomics that effect various aspects of disease, entomology and weed science.

“Some of the primary issues of the 2014 peanut crop are mainly related to moisture and rainfall,” Tubbs says. “On the non-irrigated peanut crop we ended up with a lot of dryland peanuts that have not fully developed and are behind on maturity.” The yield looks like it will be suppressed. There was poor flowering and poor pod set on that crop early on when the rainfall stopped and we ended up with very dry conditions for the months of July and August. So those conditions are starting to become rectified with recent rainfall. However, we are getting to the point in the season where it is going to be difficult to make up the time we have lost for getting a good pod set and good yields on the dryland crop.

Some of the research funding from the Georgia Peanut Commission and the National Peanut Board are projects where I have looked at seeding rates and various replant decisions for peanuts. The trials are included in multiple locations throughout the state and at the Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia. In these trials Tubbs looks at how important is it to get an established plant stand on the first planting. “If you can’t get a good established plant stand on the initial planting the amount of money it costs to go back into a field is costly to a grower,” he says. The additional costs include the cost of more passes through the field, additional cost of more seed and then also determining when is the appropriate time to dig based on maturity. With two different planting dates growing in the same field at the same it is very difficult to determine the optimum maturity. Because some peanuts will be over mature while others are immature.

A lot of information from the UGA Peanut Team is available online at

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Determining peanut maturity

Following the visit to Joe Boddiford’s farm in Screven County, Georgia, tour attendees headed to the University of Georgia Southeast Research and Education Center in Burke County, Georgia. At the research centers many of the members of the UGA Peanut Team provided information on research they conduct at the center involving pest management to disease control. Also, attendees learned more about how farmers tell when their peanuts are ready for harvest from local county Extension agents.

Cotton, corn and peanuts are the major crops produced in Burke County with a peanut crop production estimated to reach roughly 38,250-39,000 tons. Burke County planted between 16,000 and 18,000 acres of peanuts this growing season.  “Thrips, spider mites, foliage feeding pest, nematodes, white mold and lack of rain were some troubles farmers faced this season,” says Peyton Sapp,  Burke County extension coordinator.

Sapp also presented a peanut maturity demonstration to tour attendees.

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.