From tillage to contracts to crop protection to per-acre costs, peanut growers were asked questions about their production and marketing practices. With a click, their collective answers were revealed and analyzed on the spot.
Farmers attending the general session of the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Sandestin, Fla., July 21 were given electronic clickers, which looked like small, simple mobile phones but with buttons labelled A through I. They used the clickers to provide their anonymous answers to a wide range of multiple-choice questions.
The session, named ‘How does your farm compare?’ was led by University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort, Alabama Cooperative Extension agronomist Kris Balkcom and Mississippi State University Extension agronomist Jason Sarver. The agronomists surveyed the growers with questions showcased on big screen. After allowing a few seconds for answers to be submitted, the results of the growers’ answers were displayed on the screen.
There were more than 45 questions asked of the growers. Each question received between 70 and 80 unique grower responses from the audience, which included growers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi Here are two dozen or so of the questions that were asked and how the answers broke down across the room:
How many acres of peanuts did you plant in 2017?
About a third of the responders said they planted between 250 and 500 acres of peanuts in 2017; 20 percent said they planted between 500 and 1,000 acres and 13 percent planted between 1,000 and 2,500 acres; 5 percent said they planted more than 2,500 acres. About 10 percent of the responders said they planted no peanuts in 2017.
What percent of your acres planted in April?
Almost half the farmers who answered said 0 percent of their acreage in 2017 was planted in April, but the remainder did plant in April with 10 percent of responders saying they planted greater than 80 percent of their peanuts in April.
What is the most important information you consider before starting to plant?
A bit more than half of the growers said soil temperatures is most important but 22 percent said forecast, and 17 percent said history is most important.
What percentage of your acres produced in rotation of 1 year or less between peanut crops?
About a third of responders said 0 percent is on one year or less rotation, but at the other extreme, 23 percent said greater than 80 percent of their peanut acres in 2017 is on one year or less rotation.
What non-legume crop do you rotate with?
For 37 percent of the growers, cotton was the rotation choice; for another 37 percent cotton and corn were the rotation partners. About three percent said bahia. As a follow-up question, a third of the growers said they do not rotate their peanuts with soybeans, but the other quarter said they did rotate peanuts with soybean.
What is your planting row spacing?
About 70 percent of the growers said they plant 36-inch rows, and 25 percent said they plant to 38-inch rows. In a related question, about 40 percent said they use twin row split center, and 54 percent said they plant to single row.
What percent of your peanut crop is irrigated?
A third of the responders said 0 percent of their acreage is irrigated, but another third said greater than 80 percent of their acreage is irrigated, and about 14 percent said 11 percent to 20 percent of their acreage is irrigated. A follow-up question revealed a third of the growers at the meeting schedule their irrigation ‘When it’s Dry.’ About 20 percent said they use a weekly schedule. About 15 percent use a scheduling program without sensors but a third said they use a scheduling program with sensors.
What is your tillage practice?
A little more than a third of the growers said they use bottom plow intense tillage; a quarter of them said they rip and bed and about 20 percent said they use reduced tillage with cover crop.
Do you use precision application of lime or fertility?
Half said they do use precision application and half said they do not.
Do you use broiler litter?
About a third said that they do use it.
What percentage of your acreage received inoculant + biological enhancement products?
About 60 percent said none of their acreage received it and about 30 percent said greater than 80 percent of their acreage received inoculant + biological enhancement products.
Most troublesome weed?
Almost 60 percent said Palmer Amaranth was No. 1 weed problem, but nutsedge, annual grasses or morningglory were tops for a few responders.
Do you utilize pre-herbicides other than Valor?
More than 80 percent said, yes, they do use a PRE other than Valor. But in a related question, of those who do use Valor, they use it on more than 80 percent of their acreage.
What percentage of your acreage is treated with Cadre?
About 60 percent of the responders said greater than 80 percent of their acreage gets Cadre; about 20 percent said no acreage gets Cadre.
Half said 0 percent of acreage gets Paraquat, and about a third said greater than 80 percent of their acreage gets it.
What at plant insecticide for thrips do you utilize?
Almost half said they use Imidacloprid, and about a third said they use Thimet, and 11 percent said no at-plant insecticide used.
Do you have your peanuts scouted?
About half said, yes, and half said, no.
Which disease is of greatest concern in your farming operation?
White mold was the greatest concern for 64 percent of the growers, and leaf spot was greatest concern for almost 20 percent.
What factor has the greatest influence on your selection of a fungicide program?
A third said recommendations from Extension; a little more than a third said recommendations from distributors or consultants is greatest influence; and about 20 percent said price was.
What was your gross farm sales from all sources during 2016?
Forty percent said it was $1 million or greater; 14 percent said it was between $750,000 and $999,999; and 30 percent said it was between $350,000 and $749,999.
How much did you pay for commercial seed in 2017?
About 40 percent of responders said they spent between 81 cents and 85 cents per pound; and a third said they spent more than 85 cents per pound.
How do your peanut related herbicide, insecticide and fungicide costs compare?
Forty-five percent said those combined expenses are more than $148 per acre; and a quarter of responders said it was less than $134 per acre; and another quarter said it was between $134 and $148 per acre.
What percentage of your 2017 peanut crop is contracted?
About half said between 76 percent and 100 percent of their peanuts is contracted; about a quarter said between 51 percent and 75 percent is contracted; and 11 percent said none contracted
How do your peanut related drying costs compare?
Almost 70 percent said the cost was less than $40 per acre.
The data collected during the session will be analyzed further by UGA Extension economist Adam Rabinowitz and combined with other Extension-based surveys of the like in an effort by Extension to better understand, or confirm, the approaches peanut farmers are taking to produce and market their crop and to better develop and direct Extension educational efforts.