PERENNIAL PEANUT FIELD DAY • SPONSORED BY: – LOWNDES COUNTY YOUNG FARMERS – RON SMOAK, ADVISOR Provided by Dr. James Corbett, Agriculture Teacher, Lowndes Co. High School GA Ag Ed Curriculum Office To accompany Georgia Agriculture Education Curriculum July 2002 WHAT IS A PERENNIAL PEANUT? • A PRIMITIVE PEANUT THAT PRODUCES VERY FEW SEEDS. • A WARM SEASON/TROPICAL PERENNIAL LEGUME FROM SOUTH AFRICA. PERENNIAL PEANUT FIELD ALSO KNOWN AS “FLORIDA’S ALFALFA” • IT IS SIMILAR IN QUALITY TO ALFALFA. – CRUDE PROTEIN RANGES FROM 13%- 18% – DIGESTIBILITY IS QUITE SIMILAR TO ALFALFA FIELD IN FULL BLOOM ADVANTAGES OF PERENNIAL PEANUTS • LONG-LIVING/ DOES NOT REQUIRE REPLANTING • NO ADDITIONAL NITROGEN NEEDED • NO MAJOR INSECT, DISEASE, OR NEMATODE PESTS • HIGH TOLERANCE TO DROUGHT HOW DO I GET STARTED PLANTING PERENNIAL PEANUTS? • Locate a source of well-managed rhizomes • Complete land preparation during the winter months • Plant during January, February, and March PLANTING SITE REQUIREMENTS • Geographic- grow best from South Georgia to North Florida (neither above 31º to 32º latitude nor farther than 80 miles from a coast) • Climatic- grow best in full sun; long, hot, & humid days • Soil- grow best in well-drained soil and deep sands • Fertilization- must soil test for phosphorus and potassium PLANTING SITE REQUIREMENTS (CONT.) • Site History- try to avoid post-plant weed problems in field • Land Preparation- must bottom plow followed by disk-harrow in order to smooth land FIRST SUMMER AFTER PLANTING PLANTING MATERIAL • Cultivars- Florigraze & Arbrook – Florigraze- adapted to well drained-soils – Arbrook- drought hardy; does well on excessively drained sandy soils • Source- propagated vegetatively using rhizomes (modified underground stems) RHIZOME HARVESTING • Remove from soil mechanically with a sprig harvester • Plant as individual rhizome pieces • Rhizomes should be 1/8 inch plus in diameter and a minimum of 9 inches in length • Rhizomes should be planted as soon as possible after digging RHIZOME FIELD PLANTING • Time of Planting- during winter months of January, February, and March (peanut is in a quiescent or inactive growing state) • Planting Rate- 80 bushels of rhizomes/acre • Planting Methods- Bermuda sprig planters commonly used; broadcast by hand; disk harrow to depth of 1 1/2 - 2 inches COST CONSIDERATIONS • Establishment (varies from as little as $200 up to $500/acre) • Number of acres to be planted • Rhizome source • Labor • Equipment POST-PLANT MANAGEMENT • Sand Blast Prevention- includes planting rye in strips every 10 feet over field • Irrigation- should be considered if it is available. • Weed Control- must be done during first and second growing season; includes chemical applications and mowing CENTER PIVOT IRRIGATION WEED CONTROL MORE WEED CONTROL LATE CONTROL OF WEEDS WEED CONTROL AFTER PLANTING HARVESTING • Best way to harvest is with a square baler; store bales in a dry, dark barn • Keep horse-quality hay from rain and other elements after harvest • Wet hay can be rolled into larger bales for cattle hay ENCLOSED HAY BARN FIELD READY TO HARVEST HARVESTING THE CROP ACCUMULATOR BEHIND THE SQUARE BALER BALE LOADER MARKETING • Majority of the hay is used in the horse industry • 50-60 bales sell for approximately $5/bale WHY NOT TRY PERENNIAL PEANUTS ON YOUR FARM?
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