Peanut harvest is in full swing this week, which is about two weeks earlier than 2013. Somewhere between 40 to 50% of the crop has been dug and 15 to 20% thrashed. Grades have ranged from 74 to 79 and yield between 4,200 and 5,000 lb/ac. These grades and yield are similar to 2013, which was a very good year for peanut production in Arkansas. Assuming good weather conditions continue the majority of the 2014 crop should be harvested by mid-October.
A NEW foliar disease of peanut called early leaf spot (ELS) was detected earlier this month on peanut cv. OLin growing in extension research plots near Newport, AR. To my knowledge this is the first time ELS has been found in the state. Leaf symptoms consist of circular, brown to dark brown lesions surrounded by a yellow halo (Fig. 2). Early leaf spot is caused by the fungus, Cercospora arachidicola that produces silvery, fuzzy tufts of spores on the TOP side of the leaf. These tufts can be seen without magnification, but a 20x hand lens is helpful. ELS is an extremely important disease that can cause 50% yield loss. Given that ELS was only detected in one research plot that is isolated from most of the peanut producing areas of the state and that most fields are near harvest, it is very unlikely that ELS will be a threat to the 2014 peanut crop. Information on management of early leaf spot is forthcoming on this blog and upcoming producer meetings.