Prescription for Premium Peanut Yields

The Peanut Doctor, Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D., is open for consultation on peanut disease.
Prescription for Premium Peanut Yields
Elatus (pictured above) and Miravis fungicides control destructive diseases in peanuts with residual activity that’s longer than any other peanut product on the market. Photography by Jay Houston
The @SyngentaUS Peanut Doctor, Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D., is open for consultation on #peanut disease.

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Q. How much impact can disease have on peanut yield and quality?

A. Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D., agronomic service representative and the Peanut Doctor, Syngenta: Diseases can significantly decrease peanut yield. If infection occurs early, total plant development can be affected, resulting in near-complete loss. Late infection of foliar diseases like leaf spot can cause defoliation and problems with digging and inverting. Soilborne diseases like white mold and Rhizoctonia can compromise the vines to such an extent that the pods actually fall off.

Quality is less a function of disease than maturity. Disease can cause a farmer to rush harvest, therefore increasing the chance of an immature crop; so, yes, diseases indirectly influence quality.

Q. What is the most effective approach for writing a disease management prescription in peanuts — a peanut Rx?

Both Miravis and Elatus fungicides deliver step-changes in peanut disease management. Extensive testing and field research leave little doubt that these two fungicides can last a long time to prevent infection in fields with all types of disease pressure.

Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D, the Peanut Doctor
A. Be proactive. No fungicide is designed to play catch-up. The best programs begin early and have overlapping applications of different modes of action. For peanuts, the most critical period of disease management is 60 to 100 days after planting. During this time, the plant is nearing its full vegetative growth, beginning to set pods or fruit, and filling those pods. Any stress on the plant during this time period can affect final yield, so it is critical to protect foliage and vines. If you don’t protect the plant during this period, it is nearly impossible to fight disease in the 100-plus-day time frame. Also, as the canopy closes, the microclimate is much more conducive to disease development with high humidity and high temperatures.

In addition to choosing an effective fungicide program, growers should implement cultural practices known to reduce disease development. These include selecting varieties with disease tolerance, removing plant debris from the previous season in which inoculum may have overwintered, and properly timing and placing irrigation.

Q. Does a premium program to control disease pay off in peanut production?

Prescription for Premium Peanut Yields
Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D., Syngenta agronomic service representative, enjoys his new role as the Peanut Doctor. Photography by Todd Stone
A. Growers can sometimes use low-cost disease programs and make good yields. However, there is no margin for error, and conditions must be perfect. Premium programs that use multiple modes of action and the newest products give growers many more options when conditions change — as they so often do. For example, Miravis® and Elatus® fungicides distinguish themselves because they consistently deliver longer residual control compared with any other peanut fungicide. This allows a grower flexibility in application and also adaptability when adverse weather prevents fungicide application. Additionally, many new peanut varieties with desirable characteristics, such as nematode resistance or preferred oil chemistry, simply cannot be grown profitably without a premium, highly planned fungicide strategy.

Q. How does the level of risk impact the disease management program for a field?

A. Common to all risk levels is the backbone. In other words, the backbone is that 60- to-100-day time frame that must be protected across all risk levels. Risk programs can impact what occurs prior to 60 and after 100 days to account for things like good or poor rotation, varieties with resistance or lack thereof, or cultural practices known to foster or lessen disease. Miravis and Elatus provide that backbone, even in low-risk management plans.

Q. Are tools with long residual available to manage disease in fields with high pressure?

A. Miravis and Elatus have much longer residual activity than all other peanut products on the market. When launched, both products met skepticism about their ability to last 21 to 28 days or more for disease control. Keep in mind that a 14-day spray schedule for peanut fungicide management was the standard over the last 40 years. That is changing as peanut producers and their retail and consultant support teams see the performance Miravis and Elatus bring to their fields.

Both Miravis and Elatus deliver step-changes in peanut disease management. Extensive testing and field research leave little doubt that these two fungicides can last a long time to prevent infection in fields with all types of disease pressure.

Elatus offers growers application flexibility from 21 days after planting to traditional soilborne disease application timing. It provides excellent control of several foliar and soilborne diseases, including Southern stem rot or white mold, Rhizoctonia, early leaf spot, late leaf spot, and rust.

Miravis complements the proven performance of Elatus by delivering groundbreaking potency against early and late leaf spot. Both fungicides help to significantly increase yield and maximize earnings potential.

Q. Where can growers go for more information?

A. Growers are welcome to contact their local retailer or Syngenta representative for more information on managing peanut diseases. They also can go to or for more specific information on our peanut fungicide portfolio.

My new role as the Peanut Doctor is a testament to our commitment to the peanut-growing community. On behalf of everyone at Syngenta, we look forward to helping growers overcome their challenges and celebrate their successes as the 2020 season gets underway.

Meet the Peanut Doctor

Wilson Faircloth, Ph.D., is a Syngenta agronomic service representative and peanut expert who’s spent years implementing peanut fungicide programs, testing new products and developing best practices for peanut production. His down-to-earth approachability and specialized knowledge are now available to more peanut growers than ever before through the Peanut Doctor program.