Circular 145F May 1975
TO INCREASE EFFICIENCY
IN PEANUT PRODUCTION
1. Grow peanuts in.rotation with other well-fertilized
field crops, preferably grass crops such as corn,
sorghum or pastures.
2. Have soil tested and apply necessary lime and
3. Turn land so that all crop residues and weeds
4. Use preplant or at-'ag fumigation, if needed,
for nematode coo
5. Use high quality seed .L m tended variety
and use proper spacing fo he v
6. Control weed/ with he bicides, cfi
7. Apply gypsmp soon after mee-b* nts begin
bloom freey. / /
8. Control lea spfiea and insect pests.
9. Dig at proper time. '/
10. Harvest and cure nutsibiia tods th will
minimize seed damage. C.P1/r
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
Peanut Production Guide
Peanut yields have increased sharply in recent
years. This increase has been due to the combina-
tion of several practices: planting the Florunner
variety; better weed, disease, nematode and in-
sect control; irrigation; improved harvesting
equipment and more attention to management.
Many growers now produce around 5,000
pounds of peanuts per acre. The same techniques
that these growers use are available to all pea-
Soils and Rotations
Peanuts should be grown on well-drained soils
in a 2, 3, or 4-year rotation with other crops that
have been well fertilized.
Other crops in the rotation should be resistant
to nematodes and southern blight. Crops recom-
mended for rotation with peanuts include corn,
small grains and other grasses. Because legumes
and many vegetable crops build up nematode
populations and soil-borne diseases, these crops
should be avoided in the peanut rotation, espe-
cially as immediately preceding crops.
Liming and Fertilization
Improve soil fertility of fields to be planted to
peanuts by liming and fertilizing for maximum
economic production of other crops in the rotation.
Recommendations as to the kind and amount
of limestone that should be applied are based on
pH preferences and calcium and magnesium re-
quirements of the crops in the rotation and of the
pH value and calcium and magnesium contents of
soil samples analyzed in the laboratory.
Limestone is of two kinds-calcic and dolomitic.
In addition to reducing soil acidity, calcic lime-
stone supplies the plant nutrient calcium while
dolomitic limestone supplies both calcium and
For development of well-filled nuts, an ad-
equate supply of calcium must be available in the
fruiting zone, as well as in the rooting zone, of the
peanut plant. Therefore, to be most effective as
a source of calcium, and to not interfere with
proper preparation of a good seedbed for peanuts,
the recommended kind and amount of limestone
should be broadcast evenly over the surface and
thoroughly mixed with the soil in the plow layer
before the preceding spring crop is planted.
Peanuts often respond as well or better to re-
sidual soil fertility than to direct fertilization.
For this reason, emphasis is placed on proper
fertilization of the preceding crop.
Peanuts do not respond to inoculation with
nitrogen-fixing bacteria in most situations. There
are no indications that inoculation is needed on
soils that have grown peanuts or other legumes
in the cowpea inoculation group within the pre-
ceding five years. However, observations on land
that has not grown peanuts or another legume in
the same cross inoculation group have shown that
peanuts can respond to inoculation. Granular
inoculants appear to be the most satisfactory
means of introducing nitrogen-fixing bacteria in
these situations. The granular inoculants are
applied directly in the seed furrow by a granule
Peanuts, when inoculated with the proper
strain of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, do not respond
to applications of fertilizer nitrogen. However,
nitrogen is often included with the phosphorus
and potash. This nitrogen will often stimulate
early growth. A rate of 32 pounds of nitrogen
per acre is adequate for this purpose.
If phosphorus and/or potash levels are low or
if maintenance of high fertility is desired, use
Soil-Test Results Recommended Fertilization
(lbs./A. of P20, or K20)
Fertilizer should be broadcast just before the
land is turned. If for any reason it becomes
necessary to apply fertilizer at planting time
rather than before the land is turned, it should be
placed in bands three to four inches to each side
of the seed row and three to four inches below the
level of the seed.
Boron applications are often necessary to pro-
duce high-quality and high yields of peanuts, es-
pecially on the sandy soils. Boron can be supplied
by adding a complete minor element frit to the
fertilizer at a rate that will result in application
of 20 pounds of the frit per acre. Other methods
of supplying boron, would be to add soluble boron
at the rate of 11/2 pounds of BO, (1/ pound of
B) per acre in the fertilizer at planting time, in
the gypsum applied at blooming time, or in the
first fungicide application for leafspot control.
Copper, manganese, iron and' zinc are other minor
elements that have been deficient in peanuts in
Florida, but these are not common deficiencies.
In early fall, have soil tested; shred crop resi-
dues; if lime is needed, apply the recommended
kind and amount of limestone and disk land to
incorporate limestone and crop residues into the
top three to four inches of soil. The partially in-
corporated residues will tend to protect the soil
against erosion by wind and water during winter
and early spring.
If additional soil protection is desired or if
winter grazing is needed, apply the proper kind
and amount of fertilizer just ahead of the disking
operation and plant rye, or another small grain
of your choice. Just before time to turn land for
peanut crop, graze plants to ground level, or re-
duce plant height by use of rotary mower set close
to the ground, and break up root sod by disking
land thoroughly to a depth of three to four inches.
Three to four weeks before planting time,
broadcast the recommended kind and amount of
fertilizer and turn land with a moldboard plow,
equipped with coulters, so that all litter will be
covered with at least four inches of soil.
Florunner, released by the Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station in 1969, has easily become
the most popular peanut ever grown in Florida.
Almost 100 percent of the Florida acreage was
planted to this variety in 1975. Florunner is the
only runner-type peanut variety recommended at
Florigiant is superior to all other Virginia-type
peanuts tested in Florida in yield and resistance
to seed damage. Starr, Tifspan and Spancross
are the Spanish varieties recommended for plant-
ing in Florida.
If the crop is to be hogged-off, choose a variety
of the runner-type. Seed of these varieties, if
left in the ground after they reach maturity,
usually will remain dormant for several months.
Plant sound, well-matured, disease-free seed of
known pedigree, purity and performance. Flor-
ida certified peanut seed, which are grown and
processed under strict regulations and close super-
vision, are true to variety and of high quality.
Florunner seed is about 10 percent larger than
Early Runner; therefore, planting rates should
be adjusted accordingly.
There has been some interest in planting seed
that has been sized. Sized seed could allow for
more precision planting and uniform stands and
growth. Plants from larger seed should grow
faster soon after germination and also withstand
adverse conditions better than smaller seed be-
cause of the greater supply of food reserves in
large seed. On the other hand, large seed would
normally be damaged more than small seed in the
sizing process and therefore be more susceptible
to seedling diseases.
Space seed of Spanish varieties two to three
inches apart in 24 to 30 inch rows, and those of
runner and Virginia varieties three to four inches
apart in 30 to 36 inch rows. For runner and
Virginia varieties, a modified two-row pattern,
in which the middle beneath the tractor is one
rear tire width narrower than the wheel middle,
permits more satisfactory operation of spraying
or dusting equipment, especially in the latter part
of the growing season. For Spanish varieties, a
four-close-row pattern in which paired rows 10
inches apart straddle the position normally oc-
cupied by single rows in the modified two-row
system, may aid in weed control and may result
in higher yields.
Cover the seed two to three inches in light-
textured soils and 11/2 to 2 inches in heavier-
textured soils. After they are covered, the top of
A the seed row should be level with, or slightly
above, the middles.
Level or ridge planting, which is required for
non-dirting of peanut plants and for proper ap-
plication of weed control chemicals, can be ac-
complished through use of sweeps, set flat and
shallow, followed by planters equipped with cover-
ing knives and wide press-wheels.
A successful weed control program depends on
all factors of peanut production being optimum.
Crop rotation, use of weed-free crop seed, opti-
mum plant populations, cultivation and keep-
ing weeds from going to seed are directly related
to low weed populations and high peanut yields.
If weeds were controlled in corn last year, the
weed problem will be reduced in the peanuts
grown in that same field this year. Herbicides
will supplement these sound farm management
principles to provide optimum weed control at the
least cost to the peanut producer.
Weed competition reduces peanut yield mostly
during the first four weeks after planting. How-
ever, late-season populations of morningglory and
cocklebur may also reduce yields and interfere
with harvesting efficiency. The highest yields of
peanuts are usually from areas receiving a
herbicide program of one of the preplant incorpo-
rated herbicides followed by one of the cracking-
time treatments. An example of such a program
would be benefin (Balan) preplant followed by
alachlor (Lasso) + naptalam + dinoseb (Dy-
anap) at cracking time. Other chemicals listed
in Table 1 under each time of application may be
used and should be selected on the basis of the
specific weeds to be controlled.
All label instruction and precautions should be
followed carefully, since rates higher than needed
may injure the crop and lower rates may not pro-
vide acceptable weed control. Be sure that ap-
plication is properly timed in relation to the stage
of growth of the crop and the weeds.
For application of herbicides, use a tractor-
mounted sprayer that is equipped with a corrosion
resistant tank, power take-off-operated nylon
roller pump, pressure regulator with gauge and
nozzles of the proper type and size. The sprayer
should be clean, in good working order and prop-
erly calibrated to deliver the required rate of
chemical in 15 to 20 gallons of water per acre.
Do not allow spray to drift to cotton, tobacco
or other sensitive crops nor use spray unit for
spraying sensitive crops.
The major nematode pests of peanuts in Flor-
ida are the peanut root-knot, root lesion and ring
nematodes. The peanut root-knot nematode
causes large galls or knots on pegs, pods and
roots. When present in heavy numbers it causes
severe losses in peanut yields. Damage incited
by the root-lesion nematode is generally limited
to causing brown lesions on the peanut hulls.
The root-lesion and ring nematode affect the pea-
nut quality without causing marked reductions in
Control by chemicals, row application with
DBCP (FumazoneR, NemagonR, or Oxy BBCR), is
the general practice used in treating peanut fields.
In fields heavily infested with the peanut root-
knot nematode, apply these materials overall or
with two chisels per row. If two chisels are used,
apply at the same rate as for one chisel per row.
Space the two chisels 8 to 10 inches apart. See
Table 2 for recommendations.
Application of Gypsum
If the calcium level in the soil was found by
test to be inadequate and lime was not applied or
was applied but not thoroughly mixed with the
top soil, or if the variety is of the Virginia type,
apply agricultural gypsum (landplaster) over the
entire potential pegging zone after the plants
begin to bloom freely.
Rate of application of the gypsum should be
600 to 1,000 pounds per acre for Virginia type
peanuts and 400 to 600 pounds per acre for other
Bulk-spread wet gypsum is now available to
many peanut growers and can reduce the labor
cost of application. Because it is broadcast the
rate of application of the bulk-spread, wet gypsum
should be double the rate used for dry, bagged
gypsum. Do not apply to wet peanut foliage, be-
cause wet bulk-spread gypsum can burn the leaves
more readily than dry gypsum.
Irrigation of peanuts has given favorable re-
sults in most cases where good weed control and
cultural practices were followed. More yield in-
crease has been reported where peanuts were on
light sandy soils. Yield increases from 9 to 70
percent have been experienced through Univer-
sity of Georgia and Florida field trials.
One-half to three-fourths inch of water applied
just before planting has proven to be very effec-
tive in producing good stands. During the grow-
ing season in Florida, peanuts will require from
four to eight inches of supplemental irrigation
each year for optimum production. Growers who
irrigate once or twice each year at random fre-
quencies may not experience a significant increase
Herbicides are more effective when used in
combination with a well-timed irrigation pro-
Where limited water supplies or facilities are
not available for full-season irrigation, growers
should time irrigation for the main fruiting pe-
riod. Late season irrigation on Spanish, where
pods have reached near maturity, may result in
pod splitting. This tendency is especially true
where pods have stopped growth prior to apply-
Usually, irrigation commenced at 50 percent
moisture depletion during the peak growing sea-
son will result in maximum yield. This will re-
quire one application every 4 to 5 days on light
sandy soils, and every 6 to 8 days on heavier
soils. One inch per application should be suffi-
cient for light sandy soils whereas 1.5 inches may
be necessary for heavy soils.
Systems considered suitable for peanut irriga-
tion are center pivot, traveling guns and portable
pipe. Initial costs of these systems will be in the
neighborhood of $275 per acre for center pivot or
traveling gun systems operating at their max-
imum effective acreage (150 acres for center pivot
and 100 acres for traveling gun). Variable costs
will be between $2.00 and $3.00 per acre-inch.
Considering both variable and fixed costs, the
total cost, on an annual basis, for six applications
should be approximately $50 per acre.
In 1972 a chemical that will prevent excessive
vine growth was cleared for use on peanuts. Ap-
plication of this chemical, Kylar, will cause inter-
nodes to be shorter, but the number of leaves
will not be reduced. Fungicide and insecticide ap-
plications should be more effective with the more
compact plants. Ground equipment for applying
chemicals can be used later in the season without
damaging the vines. It will be easier to keep
tractor tires in the middle during harvest because
the central stem of the plant is prominent. There
are indications that treated plants have increased
Kylar is applied broadcast at the rate of one
pound per acre when the vines begin to meet in
the middles. The plants should be in an active
growing condition at the time of application.
Kylar should not be applied to wilted plants.
Treated plants will become darker green in color
a few days after application. If conditions war-
rant, a second application of 1/ pound per acre
may be made up to 30 days prior to harvest.
Disease Control Programs
Seed Decay and Seedling Blight
(1) Use a crop rotation plan that excludes pea-
nuts, soybeans and other non-grass crops in the
previous 3 to 4 years. (2) Deep plow crop resi-
dues at least 6 inches. (3) Avoid deep planting
if soil moisture near the surface is adequate. (4)
Use a seed treatment fungicide such as: captan-
botran (Ortho Orthocide-Botran), difolitan-bot-
ran (Ortho Difolitan-Botran) or maneb-captan
(Granox PFM or Granox PF).
Root Rots, Stem Rots, Peg Rots and Pod Rots
Use those methods recommended for control of
seedling diseases, nematode control, insect control
and leaf spot control. Rot diseases of peanuts
are complex and thus they require more than one
Leaf Spot and Rust Control
Fungicide usage may be interpreted by many
to be the only control measure for leaf spot but
in actuality all controls for seedling blights and
rots also aid in control of peanut leaf spot. See
Table 3 for effective fungicides. Sprays are more
effective than dusts.
Use of an inverter reduces this disease. Also
do not allow harvested peanuts to remain in trail-
ers or trucks without proper drying.
Peanuts are attacked by a wide variety of in-
sect and mite pests. Since infestations vary sea-
sonally from one location to another, it is very
important to check fields and apply control mea-
sures only when they are actually needed.
The most important insects on peanuts in Flor-
ida are cutworms, foliage caterpillars (army-
worms, corn earworms) and lesser cornstalk
borers. Other pests that have been problems are
wireworms, white grubs, white fringed beetles,
leafhoppers, thrips and spider mites.
The accompanying chart (Table 4) lists current
pest control recommendations. Sprays should be
applied in enough water to obtain thorough, uni-
form coverage. Nozzles, booms, hoses, strainers
and tanks should receive frequent attention to in-
sure proper operation. Calibrate and recheck
sprayers regularly since calibration can change
with equipment wear. Always read the label and
follow precautions and limitations related to the
pesticide in use. Store all pesticides in their
original labeled container away from food, feed,
livestock and children.
With average days to maturity for the variety
as a guide, inspect each field to determine the
stage of development of the nuts. Pull several
plants from different parts of the field, pick off
all pods, break pods open and determine the per-
centage of hull insides turning dark for Spanish
varieties and the percentage with a deep pink
seedcoat color for the Runner varieties and
Florigiant. Delay digging until 80 percent (4
out of 5) of the Spanish hulls are turning dark on
the inside and until two thirds ( 2 out of 3) of
the kernels of the Runner varieties or Florigiant
are deep pink color. When using kernel color to
determine time to harvest Runner peanuts, re-
member that kernels of the Florunner variety
have a lighter color than those of the Early Run-
ner variety. For Florigiant, check the condition
of the pods stems frequently as maturity ap-
proaches; if examination shows a weakening of
pod stems, dig soon regardless of the percentage
of kernels showing pink color.
Use a rotary or flail type cutter with sharp
blades to clip foliage, preferably 3 to 4 days be-
fore digging. Do not clip excessively, but only
the top 1/3 of Spanish and top 1/2 of other types.
Sharp, rigid blades with a very slight pitch
provide optimum cutting action when set to cut
taproot just below the pods. Travel at sufficient
speed to produce a "flow" of soil and vines over
digger blades and through shaker. Excessive
speeds may strip pods from stems, whereas, too
slow speeds may not allow soil to flow properly.
An aggressive shaking action is desirable for
separating soil from pods and roots. Carefully
regulate forward speed of shaker and rattler bar
speed to lift peanuts gently from the soil. Rattler
bar teeth should "comb" the soil penetrating only
as required to lift the vines. Windrowing rods
should be adjusted to form a uniform, fluffy, well
aerated window with no vines remaining in
Inverting windows has little effect on drying
rate during ideal weather conditions but definitely
aids drying during poor drying conditions. Re-
shaking the inverted window may be advisable
where excessive soil clings to vines and stems
but the percentage of pods in contact with soil
will be increased. Prolonged exposure during
hot, dry periods may result in overdrying of pods
in contact with hot, dry soil in full sunlight.
Use a low shaker with a very gentle action and
exercise extreme care in reshaking large-seed
Combine efficiency depends upon several vari-
ables including window conditions, cylinder
speed, forward travel speed, internal adjustments
and special modifications required for handling
large-seeded peanuts. Impact and mechanical in-
jury during harvest is largely associated with
the separation process.
Machine adjustments such as cylinder speeds
should be set within manufacturer's recommenda-
tions as given in the instructional manual. Ad-
justments must be made as window moisture and
picking conditions change within a field. Operate
at the lowest cylinder speed that gives good pod
separations. A better measure of combining effi-
ciency is evidenced by the quality of the peanuts
coming into the bin rather than the amounts
harvested in a given time. Excessive speed can
be the enemy of peanut quality. Fast moving
combine parts may damage a high percentage of
hulls and kernels. Both visible and non-visible
damage opens the door to insect and mold infes-
Peanuts must be properly cured if desirable
flavor, texture, germination and overall quality
are to be maintained.
Moisture reduction is the major consideration
in peanut curing and may be accomplished by
natural window drying or by artificially drying
in a mechanically controlled environment.
Natural window drying may be done without
adversely affecting peanut quality provided natu-
ral climatic conditions are favorable. Mild tem-
peratures, relatively dry, free-moving air without
rain for five to 10 days constitute favorable natu-
ral drying conditions. Too often these conditions
do not occur in combination or for sufficient time
to allow adequate natural drying without weather
Mechanical drying offers definite advantages
in providing a controlled environment for the pea-
nuts during the drying period. This drying
method is based on removing free water and
much of the original hull moisture by limited
window curing. Peanuts are allowed to remain
in the window one to three days after digging or
until kernels will "rattle" within the hull. Pea-
nuts from an inverted window have a much more
uniform moisture content, which is an aid in
cured nut quality. Moisture content of the ker-
nels will range from 18 to 20 percent. Under
these moisture conditions, peanuts will withstand
more handling with less impact damage than
when very green or very dry. "Semi-dry" pea-
nuts should be cleaned before drying when foreign
material is excessive. Drying should be started
immediately after combining by providing ade-
quate forced air to provide approximately 50
cubic feet per minute per square foot of drying
floor area. Limit the depth of peanuts to four
feet or less in the drying bin. Uniform depth
and distribution of peanuts within the drying bin
are important for even flow of drying air and
uniform drying. Air velocity through any open-
ing in the duct system should be limited to 1,000
Control rate and amount of moisture removal
by choosing the needed temperature rise under
the prevailing natural air conditions. High tem-
perature and low relative humidity will dry too
rapidly and may result in over drying. Natural
air at relatively low temperatures (60 to 1000F.)
and depth of peanuts (four feet or less) are crit-
ical factors. Reversible air flow at the above
temperature has given excellent drying resulting
in a more uniform final kernel moisture.
Managing the Drying System
Quality control is dependent upon frequent
moisture checks as peanut kernels approach the
12 percent level. Under average climatic con-
ditions, heat may be cut off when peanuts reach
91/2 percent to 10 percent moisture. Drying will
continue as a coasting effect and will lower the
moisture 1 percent to 11/2 percent below cutoff
point. This effect is due to unequal moisture
levels between the hull and kernels. Do not allow
average moisture content to go below 8.5 percent
for any lot with no portion of the lot containing
less than 7 percent moisture nor more than 10
percent moisture. Do not allow unheated air
having less than 55 percent relative humidity to
pass through peanuts at night.
Drying Green Peanuts
If peanuts must be placed on the dryer green
or wet, more air flow per unit of time is necessary
and the depth should be limited to 2 feet in order
Safety controls may be improved by implement-
ing a purge cycle prior to and at the end of each
burner operation. The purge cycle should reduce
the fire and exposure hazards when operating a
Adhere to standards of distance between dryer
and L.P. gas tanks. Anchor burner and fan units
securely and use flexible connectors for fuel lines
to prevent leakage of the fuel supply.
Storage facilities for peanuts should be weath-
erproof and free from insect and disease bearing
litter. Bins should have provisions to control air
circulation and prevent condensation. Provide
adequate air space between surface of stored pea-
nuts and roof or ceiling of building. Avoid stor-
age of seed peanuts in buildings where tempera-
tures may become too high. Buildings having
exposed sheet iron roof or side walls may reach
excessive temperatures during fall months where
no aeration is provided.
Check and follow carefully latest recommenda-
tions as to amount and kind of insecticides to use
on stored nuts. This is extremely important.
Machinery and handling methods must be care-
fully planned to maintain quality peanuts. Use
belt-type conveyors and elevators whenever pos-
sible. The auger and chain-cleat types may crush
pods and divide kernels which invite insect in-
festation and lower both grade and germination.
If pneumatic conveyors are used, they should be
constructed to prevent cracking of pods and ker-
nels by impact. Sharp turns in conveyor ducts
must be avoided and air speed must be carefully
When necessary to walk over the surface of
stored peanuts, provide boards as walkways.
Boards prevent crushing and cracking damage to
nuts which also invites insect infestation. Re-
move peanuts from bins by gravity flow when
possible; otherwise, exercise care not to damage
nuts in handling.
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Use of trade names in this publication is solely for the
purpose of providing specific information. It is not a
guarantee or warranty of products named and does not
signify approval to the exclusion of others of suitable
This guide was prepared by E. B. Whitty, Associate
Agronomist; W. L. Currey, Assistant Agronomist; T. C.
Skinner, Agricultural Engineer; D. S. Harrison, Agri-
cultural Engineer; R. P. Cromwell, Assistant Agricultural
Engineer; F. A. Johnson, Assistant Entomologist; T. A.
Kucharek, Assistant Plant Pathologist; and R. A. Dunn,
FEB 17 1977,., ,
Single copies free to residents of Florida. Bulk rates
available upon request. Please submit details on
request to Chairman, Editorial Department, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30,1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, Universty of Flonda
and United States Department of Agriculure, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby. Dean
This public document was promulgated at an
annual cost of $1231.00 or 8.2 cents per copy
to inform Florida farmers on latest recom-
mendations for peanut production.