Peanut farmers recognize that protecting their crop from diseases and nematodes is critical. While growers are blessed with an expanding arsenal of fungicides (and even a new nematicide) with which to protect their crop, the myriad of options often leads to confusion.
Every year, the peanut crop is threatened by diseases such a leaf spot, Rhizoctonia limb rot, stem rot, CBR, tomato spotted wilt and root-knot nematodes. Peanut growers want the most effective disease-fighting program at the best price. However, the lowest priced program may not return the greatest value and the most effective fungicide program will vary among fields based upon the spectrum of diseases, production practices and weather.
The Peanut Rx program, cooperatively developed by researchers and Extension specialists at the University of Georgia, the University of Florida and Auburn University, offers growers a systematic way to reduce risk to diseases such as tomato spotted wilt, leaf spot and white mold.
It is well established that production decisions made by the grower such as variety, planting date, plant population, crop rotation, row pattern, tillage, at-plant insecticide and irrigation all affect the risk to important diseases affecting the peanut crop. Results from research and experience in managing diseases have been reviewed and summarized into a single tool, Peanut Rx.
With Peanut Rx growers can assess disease risk in their fields and from there make changes to production practices to reduce risk and also select fungicide programs appropriate for the level of risk.
These “prescription” fungicide programs are based upon the risk to white mold and leaf spot in a given field and vary from seven applications in high-risk fields to four applications in low-risk fields. Prescription fungicide programs are currently available from Syngenta Crop Protection, Nichino America, Bayer CropScience, BASF and SipcamAdvan. Additionally, Extension specialists and agents can assist with developing prescription programs for other fungicides.
When asked by a grower for advice on how to save money on a fungicide program, I immediately suggest use of Peanut Rx. Cutting costs by either reducing the number of applications or by substituting less-expensive products in an overall program does not insure greater profit to the grower if risk is not considered. In fact, when risk is elevated, growers may make more money by investing in a more expensive and more effective program. Peanut Rx provides the grower with a structured approach for making such decisions.
Prior to 2015, Peanut Rx could be found in a number of different formats, to include a chapter in the annual UGA Peanut Update (available online at www.ugapeanuts.com) and card-stock produced by partners in the agchem industry who place the abbreviated index on one side and the company’s prescription programs on the other.
UGA Extension, in collaboration with ZedX, Inc., has funded the creation of a smart phone app that gives growers access to the Peanut Rx risk. This app is available free. Growers using iPhones can download the app at the App Store under “Peanut Rx”. Those using Android phones can find the app at Google Play under “UGA Peanut Rx”.
Not only will the smart phone app be more convenient for growers as it is readily available, but it also allows one to customize the management tools to best fit his or her needs to rapidly determine how changes in production practices will affect risk and allows growers to more easily schedule fungicide applications.