The 2012 peanut growing season is off to a good start. Peanut production in Arkansas this year is estimated at 18,000 acres, up from ~7,500 acres in 2011. The majority of peanut acreage continues to be located in Lawrence and Randolph counties with 3,000 to 4,000 in Clay, Lee, Poinsett, Phillips, Mississippi, and White counties, collectively. Planting was delayed last week (30 April) due to dry soil conditions, but recent rains should provide favorable moisture for planting to resume. Approximately 75 to 80% of the peanut acreage has been planted. Popular peanut cultivars for Arkansas include Florida-07 and Georgia-09B with some interest in new cultivars, Florida-107 and Red River Runner.
Two new buying points will be in operation this year near Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge. These buying points have been established by the Clint Williams and Birdsong Peanut Companies, which have contracts for most of the 2012 acreage in Arkansas.
Currently, there have been no reports of major insect or disease concerns for the 2012 season; however, growers should continue to monitor their fields. Armyworms have been active on other crops, and they can be major defoliators of peanut. Thrips can be destructive to peanut leaves early in the season, and they can also vector Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, an important disease of peanut. Seed treatments with fungicides should provide sufficient protection of seed and emerging seedlings from fungal pathogens that cause preemergence and postemergence damping-off and Aspergillus Crown Rot.