This afternoon I got a call from a farmer wanting to start planting peanuts since the weather was so warm and has been for a while. My advice was not to get into a hurry. I would wait until April 20 before I planted my earliest peanuts and then only if the conditions were right (the soil temperature at 4 inches being at least 70 degrees for 3 consecutive days and a warming trend forecasted). We need to start planting earlier (in late April) to avoid the yield reductions when we plant in very late May or June. Our new peanut varieties have great resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus so we can plant in late April and not have our yields hammered by TSWV. Later in the day I got a very timely e-mail from Dr. John Beasley, University of Georgia Extension peanut specialist, warning growers about planting too early and a cold snap forecasted. Below is Dr. Beasley’s e-mail:
This is a follow-up to the e-mail I sent last week concerning the “itch” to plant by some growers and soil temperatures. I alluded to the proverbial “Easter cold snap” (I actually said freeze, not cold snap) in the e-mail last week. Late last week it looked as if we were going to have warm temperatures through the Easter weekend. However, things have changed.
In case you haven’t checked the 7-day forecast the last day or two, you need to make your peanut producers aware that the 3-7 day forecast is for low temperatures in the low to middle 40’s starting Saturday morning through next Wednesday. Here are the projected lows and highs for Tifton over the next 7 days:
Tomorrow – 63 – 81
Friday – 59 – 75
Saturday – 46 – 75
Sunday – 44 – 77
Monday – 51 – 79
Tuesday – 52 – 74
Wednesday – 44 – 68
If you have been monitoring the 4-inch soil temperatures at www.georgiaweather.net you will have noticed the average soil temp has been warm enough to plant (upper 60’s and low 70’s) at every location in the peanut belt. The soil temps have stabilized to some degree by virtue of the fact that we’ve been warmer than normal for an extended time.
HOWEVER, these upcoming mornings will have low temps (mid 40’s several days) that will drop the soil temperature enough to cause serious concern about placing high dollar seed into marginal soil temperatures. There is also rain in the forecast for tomorrow and Friday. The rain associated with this front will be much colder moisture than the rain associated with the thunderstorms last week and yesterday. The cold rain will also lower soil temperatures.
With the upcoming forecast in mind I would STRONGLY encourage any of your producers with the itch to plant to hold off until the end of next week at least. Let’s get through this brief cool snap and see where the weather goes in regards to soil temperatures.
Peanut seed are too costly to run the risk of planting this early, especially with the low temps we might experience over the next 7 days!