NC peanut production typically involves 4-6 fungicide applications to successfully protect peanuts from diseases that may greatly reduce yield or kill plants. Whether or not fewer treatments can be made depends upon peanut plant development, cultural practices chosen by the producer and climatic factors. Regrettably, conditions that favor rapid and healthy peanut production also favor fungal disease development. To assist peanut producers in the ability to maximize disease protection yet utilize the least amount of fungicide applications, North Carolina State University (NCSU) provides daily peanut disease advisories. This advisory provides site-specific, detailed weather information along with specific recommendation as whether or not a fungicide application is needed. This information is found at http://ncsupeanut.blogspot.com/.
In order to gain full advantage of the advisory, several items are noteworthy. First, there are many sites evaluated but data from areas within close proximity may or may not provide the same recommendation since humidity, rainfall, temperature and other slight differences in climatic data may impact the recommendation. Thus, it is wise to examine and monitor the two closest sites when feasible to do so. Secondly, since Scelrotinia is more rapidly spread when individual plants are less fully canopied or at least within 6 inches of each other, there are two recommendations. One recommendation is for rows greater than 6 inches apart and the other for rows within 6 inches. Make sure to follow recommendations that fit field conditions! Additional climatic data, disease information, growing degree days and other information is abbreviated within each recommendation. Details of this data is found within the “How to Use the Lead Spot Advisory” and “How to Use the Sclerotina Advisory” on the web page.
In addition to the daily advisory, several successful fungicide programs have been outlined to provide specific information to guard against potential disease resistance, to provide specific recommendations for fields with known disease history and, to optimize product choices to reduce the chances of yield reduction from disease. To download a copy of these sample fungicide programs, click HERE.
Historically, following the advisory program and applying the best fit fungicide spray program has provided optimum disease control yet reduced costs compared to a routine regimen of applying a fungicide every two weeks. By utilizing the Integrated Pest Management approach of identify the disease and favorable climatic conditions for rapid development of this disease; matching specific preventative and/or curative fungicides to manage this disease; and applying cultural practices when available, growers realize a profit while reducing pesticide use.
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