Critical Peanut Harvest Info
John Beasley UGA Extension peanut Scientist
Lows in the 40's are expected the next 3 nights in south Georgia. Although we have no hard and fast data to back this statement, we do have observations and experience that indicates once the minimum temperature drops below 45 degrees for 3 or more days in a row the maturation process of the peanut seed will cease.
Therefore, we do not expect any maturation of peanuts beyond their current status after the expected cold snap ends in a few days. I DO NOT recommend that all fields still remaining be inverted immediately as this may cause other logistical issues. Only those fields that are in most desperate need of harvest (well past optimal maturity and/or heavy disease pressure) should be prioritized to be dug.
Here are some recommendations:
1) All fields that were ready to be inverted before the rain need to be inverted as soon as it is possible. HOWEVER, do not invert any fields the day before any morning in which the low temperature is expected to drop into the 30's. The pods are more protected from freeze or frost damage in the ground. Wait to invert until the risk of frost or freezing has passed.
2) Those fields that were expected to be a week or more from digging before the cold morning temperatures need to be evaluated for their vine conditions. If the vines are healthy (low risk of leaf spots, white mold, CBR, etc), then they can remain in the field until the fields at higher risk of pod loss have been harvested. We don't need to get in a hurry to harvest these fields.
3) We need to make every effort to maximize yield potential of all fields still remaining to be harvested. Despite the cold snap we still need to harvest the remaining crop on as timely as basis as possible.