Website helps peanut farmers with irrigation, digging decisions

The PeanutFARM website helps farmers schedule irrigation, keep up with Adjusted Growing Degree Days and predict digging date.

PeanutFARM is a website from the University of Florida Agronomy Department to help farmers schedule irrigation, keep up with Adjusted Growing Degree Days and predict digging date.

PeanutFARM provides an irrigation scheduling tool that gives recommendations on when to irrigate based on soil type, crop growth stage and rainfall. Individual fields can be monitored through a secure account and irrigation recommendations are made automatically.

Adjusted Growing Degree Days

Research conducted at the USDA/ARS National Peanut Research Lab and at UF has shown that an aGDD calculation can successfully predict peanut maturity and harvest date. The aGDD calculation takes into account daily temperatures, rainfall, and irrigation a crop receives through the course of the season to give a harvest prediction and it has been shown that an accumulation of 2500 aGDDs on most cultivars signals an optimum maturity.

The website automatically calculates aGDDs for every field that a grower initiates on the account. This information can be used to give a general prediction of maturity. For example, last year, most peanuts in the lower Southeast were not fully mature until 150 days after planting (rather than 135 days on a normal year). We were able to anticipate this by monitoring the aGDD’s of certain fields.

Pod Blast Scan

Pod blasting peanuts for a maturity profile board, also known as the hull-scrape method, has been the standard tool determining peanut maturity for many years. The tool can be effective if used properly, however, determining the hull color of peanuts can be subjective, thus profile board predictions can vary from person to person.

To help take out the subjectivity, the University of Florida developed a digital image protocol and computer model (DIM) that evaluates the color of blasted pods. The process is based on the maturity profile board, but the DIM eliminates the subjective nature of the color decision by the human eye and allows the computer to make an objective pod color classification.

Peanut Profile coming in 2014

A sister page called Peanut Profile will be launched in July on PeanutFARM. This page will allow a person with a free, PeanutFARM account to upload a scanned peanut profile image to the website and receive an email within minutes, containing a “days to dig” prediction with programming that will automatically analyze that image based on an algorithm, and send an automated email message with peanut harvest timing recommendations.

This new feature will significantly streamline the process of determining peanut maturity in an easy to use format.  Farmers will now be able to use the PeanutFARM website through the season to monitor the cumulative aGDDs up to the recommended 2,500 for a general prediction of peanut maturity. The next step is to upload a pod blasted sample to the Peanut Profile site, which will give a “days to dig” prediction, thus eliminating the time-consuming process of manually boarding pod samples.  This process will insure the most accurate assessment of crop maturity and should expedite the overall assessment of when to harvest peanuts.

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