Florida Peanuts: Considering April Planting? Pay Attention to Soil Temps

Photo: Doug Mayo, University of Florida

Peanut seed is likely on its way to many buying point locations this week and next week, as peanut planting will begin soon in the Florida Panhandle.  Planting is already underway in Levy County and surrounding areas, where soil temperatures are warming quickly despite a cool day here and there.

On Wednesday, April 4, average soil temperature ranged from 68.7° F in Jay, FL to 75.5° F in Citra, FL.  Soil temperature of 70° F at four inches, for four days is recommended for planting peanut with 68° F the minimum.  If soil temperatures average below 68° F, emergence could be delayed by several days, and there could be risk of stand loss too.

Looking back to March 1, there have not been four consecutive days in which the soil temperature averaged 70° F or more in Mariana, Jay, or Live Oak.  However, beginning on March 27 through April 4, soil temperatures in Citra have averaged at least 70° F, good conditions for peanut seeds to germinate and emerge.

Seeds planted on March 27 in Citra were beginning to emerge on April 3 and April 4, within 7 days.

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The Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) is a good place to find soil temperature information near you.  Figure 1 below reports the average soil temperature in four locations representative of where peanut is planted in Florida, from March 1 through April 4.  It is clear that the four day, 70° F threshold soil temperature has not been reached in the Panhandle, or in north Florida.

In fact, the soil temperature dropped below 70° F in Marianna and Jay, with the passage of a cold front on April 4. However, soil temperatures have been rising quickly since the middle of March, and should reach the four-day 70° F mark soon, barring more cold fronts.  Planting peanut when the soil temperatures have warmed to 70° F provides the best opportunity for rapid, uniform seedling emergence.

A healthy, vigorous seedling is more likely to survive, and to resist pests and pathogens.  Keep in mind that planting prior to May 10 increases the risk of spotted wilt too.  In general, April planting in the Panhandle should be a careful decision, and should encompass only a portion of your total peanut acreage.

Figure 1. Average soil temperatures from FAWN from March 1 until April 4, 2018. Click Image to Enlarge


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