What We Learned from the 2023 Georgia Peanut Tour

The #2023GPT kicked off in Bainbridge, Georgia on Tuesday, September 12 and wrapped Thursday, September 14. Attendees walked away with insights on the 2023 Georgia peanut crop, processing, and even a new “grilled” recipe.

Concept AgriTek Director of Agronomy, Bert Riggan, Agronomist, Brandon Poole, and District Sales Manager for the southeast, Clay Nelms spent the tour networking with fellow agronomic professionals, assessing the state of the crop, and building the ABC’s of how producers can mitigate damages for future crop years.

Riggan shares in a crop report video that the crop has fought an uphill battle with drought and stressors throughout the season and the effects show in the digs.

“One of the things that this region has really dealt with was late planting followed by really hot and dry weather, so what we’re seeing are plants with a really good concentration of crown nuts. What we’re not seeing are the pegs,” he says.

The digs in multiple field locations provide that tonnage will be a challenge to meet for growers in the state this year, and Riggan notes that the amount of flowering the tour group saw was not as prodigious as he would expect at this point in the season.

“Anything that we see peg down this time of year is probably not going to stay in the ground long enough to be a mature, harvestable nut,” he adds, “and the longer these crown nuts stay in the ground, the more the quality degrades.”

The combination, Riggan says, sets the farmer of that tour stop location up for an earlier harvest to get crown nuts out of the ground and into the hopper rather than waiting on the late set pegs to mature. It’s better to harvest now and get all of the crown nuts into the hopper rather than take the chance of further quality degradation on the crown nuts and a potential frost that will prevent the pegs from maturing.

The pod boards tell the story of a volatile growing season.  And variability is the theme.

“We’ve looked at some pod boards and instead of seeing the normal bell shape kind of curve, what we’re seeing is a lot in the yellow, yellow-orange, virtually nothing in the middle and then a lot in the brown to almost black range,” Riggan tells us.

The pod boards support getting diggers in the field as soon as possible.

For those learning from this blog unfamiliar with peanut production, a pod board tells a grower which stage of maturity the bulk of the crop is in. To assess condition and stage, plants are dug, pods removed and placed on the pod board and then power washed to expose the color of the shell. Yellow indicates an immature pod while dark brown-black indicates a mature nut ready for harvest. Uniform maturity makes harvest a best-case proposition for both quality and storage.

The bulk of the harvest should present in the peak of the curve. This year, that curve is inverted.

Clay and Brandon address the stressors and diseases attendees are seeing in the fields and digs.

“Because of the hot, dry period, for these early (planted) peanuts, the only yield opportunity they’ve got is to pick early. So instead of letting the crop go to the normal 140 days, we’re actually digging some of these peanuts at 115 days just to keep some of those early planted peanuts from germinating in the field,” Poole says.

Start Strong to Finish Strong

University of Georgia peanut variety research was front and center for the tour, showcasing the scope of varietal work the academic research teams are conducting. A strong focus on selecting lines for nematode resistance and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) trials was highlighted.

“There’s not a lot we can do for TWSV, and what we see as one of the biggest issues is plants not being at a mature enough stage to overcome disease,” Nelms says.

“That’s why Concept AgriTek has a strong focus on helping you start strong. We provide products to start the season strong. That means uniform emergence, better plant maturity, quicker plant maturity, robust vegetative growth—the tools a plant needs to push through some of these viral diseases and fungal outbreaks.”

Poole adds that by building on and re-working agronomic practices that are already in place, producers can push a plant to reach a point where the impacts of disease and fungal outbreaks are mitigated.

There’s a big difference in the abilities of a plant that has just emerged and the abilities of a plant that has a robust photosynthetic factory at work in weathering in-season stressors.

Equipping a crop to put its own immune system to work is a key component of the “ABC’s” Concept AgriTek uses to help producers meet their operational goals.

Foliar K® offers peanut growers the ability to micromanage potassium which provide the building blocks of the plant’s architecture and delivers StressTek® technology to help increase drought tolerance.

“Applying Foliar K and Sweet Success in really tough times, like we had with these triple-digit temperatures a few weeks ago, makes all the difference,” Riggan says. “When a plant wants to shut down, you have to provide energy that it doesn’t have to manufacture from the sun—you have to give it a boost,” Riggan tells us. “You can keep it going. I’m not going to say that you can overcome every weather event, but you can sure provide the tools. Water is not always the answer to reducing stress.”

CalBor with TransMaxx® technology also hits the bullseye for a peanut crop, not only delivering the calcium the plant needs to strengthen cell wall integrity and the boron needed to support flowering but utilizing TransMaxx technology to systemically translocate nutrients to where they are needed.

Reach out to our team for more information on how Concept AgriTek works to create a custom solution that meets your operation’s goals for every acre.

Also plant to attend the Georgia Peanut Commission’s annual Peanut Tour!

As always, thanks for the education, networking, and industry insights provided at this year’s Georgia Peanut Tour!

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