Time to Think - Peanut

Behind every harvesting machine is a grower, and behind that grower is a group of dedicated people who act as the support system. Besides the family and friends who encourage the grower every step of the way, there is also a group of committed agronomists, plant pathologists and entomologists who work tirelessly to help growers have a fruitful crop. 

Dr. Mark Abney, extension entomologist, Dr. Bob Kemerait, extension specialist of plant pathology and Dr. Scott Monfort, extension peanut agronomist at the University of Georgia all work with growers to help solve their problems in the field and make their livelihoods successful. 

“The greatest satisfaction I get is working with the growers,” Monfort says. “Helping them to remain profitable and making a difference in their livelihoods for them and their family.” 

Constant Challenges 

Many industries were subject to extreme weather conditions that made the growing season challenging, and the peanut industry was no different. With no rain for months, growers were hit hard with difficult to control soil insects and tomato spotted wilt virus. 

To decrease negative impacts, growers utilized Thimet® Insecticide, which effectively controls thrips and leafhoppers, is an important tool in managing against tomato spotted wilt virus. Thimet Insecticide activates a defense mechanism within the peanut plant that makes it more resistant to the virus. 

“Thimet has proven to kill thrips for decades, and it’s reduced the risk of tomato spotted wilt virus for years and will continue to do that,” Abney says. 

Planning for the Future 

Harvest is a time for reward and a time to analyze the decisions made. Kemerait wants to emphasize that a grower may only have one chance to prevent disaster.

“You don’t want to wish you had a chance to do something and have missed the opportunity,” Kemerait says. “You don’t want to blow that chance and be in the position where the rest of the season is compromised because of what you did or didn’t do.” 

A grower may see tomato spotted wilt virus beginning to spread during the growing season, but by then, it is already too late to control the virus. That’s why it’s important to ask questions and seek the expertise of professionals in your area or at local land-grant universities.  

“Growers don’t necessarily ask about certain problems when they should,” Monfort says. “We want growers to know and use our recommendations we know are proven, recommendations that allow growers to stay ahead of potential problems and minimize the impact.” 

With problematic insects every year, Abney’s top recommendation is scouting. “When you see things occurring that are costing you yield and quality, know that it could have easily been avoided if only someone had been walking in the field and looking.” 

Education and taking advantage of learning opportunities is key to making future harvests successful. “I’ve always had the desire to do something meaningful and helpful,” Abney says. “I will address the applied questions and the problems growers face in the field and then figure out how to fix it for them.”  

Read more on tomato spotted wilt virus and Thimet prevention tactics from Dr. Bob Kemerait. More information here.

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