I encouraged peanut producers during the winter meetings to consider planting as much of their acreage as possible in late April and early May.
Our research the past few years has indicated higher yield potential when planting during that time compared to late May.
Well, Mother Nature threw us a curveball with cooler than normal and wetter weather in April and early May. As a result, we were delayed more than we wanted for planting the majority of the acreage by May 15-20.
How late can we plant? We try to encourage producers to complete planting of all peanut acreage by June 5 if possible, and certainly no later than June 10. Since all of the currently available cultivars run about 140-150 days to reach optimal maturity, planting June 10 runs the harvest timing well into November.
The cooler nights slow the maturation process to the point that reaching optimal maturity (maximum yield potential) is highly unlikely.
Does this mean our yield potential will be less? According to our past three years of data, acreage planted after May 15 will show a yield decline compared to acreage planted in late April and early May.
However, we should still see the potential for very good yields, provided the nighttime temperatures are in our favor in middle to late October.
If we have normal to above normal minimum temperatures throughout October, we should be able to mature the later planted fields to optimal yield potential.
If we have below normal minimum temperatures in October, fields will have difficulty reaching optimal maturity and maximum yield potential. Only time will tell.