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BLACKVILLE -- For more than 34 years, Jimmy Mole II has made a point of attending the annual Peanut Field Day at Edisto Research and Education center.

His family has been farming in Hampton County for six or seven generations. With his son James at his side, Mole, who is a South Carolina Peanut Board member, talked about keeping up to date with the latest research.

“I come to the field day to stay informed on varieties and the research,” Mole said. “You go to the people that know.”

Mole and his son farm 1,500 acres and grow mostly cotton, but a fair amount of peanuts as well.

“This year we have about 120 acres of peanuts, which is a cut back from the 200 or so we usually grow,” Mole said. “We cut back because the price of peanuts was down so.

Just like any grower who keeps up with the latest technology and marketing news, Mole knows, “You got to go where the money is.”

A meet-and-greet started off the field day, giving growers, industry reps and extension agents the opportunity to mingle and enjoy boiled peanuts and lemonade.

Dr. Jay Chapin, emeritus extension specialist with Clemson University, opened Thursday’s Peanut Field Day by reminding growers that the program exists to help provide them with the tools they need to improve their bottom line. He emphasized it was farmers’ financial input that made research possible.

“We operate on your dime. You’re the grower,” Chapin said.

Chapin introduced Dr. Dan Anco, the newly hired Clemson peanut specialist. Anco will be working at Edisto REC and will be available to growers across the state for advice on peanut production. Anco, who can be reached at danco@clemson.edu , has a background in plant pathology.

From 10 a.m. until noon, attendees toured acres of plots where various trials demonstrated the results of variety-evaluation and growth-regulator use, fungicide evaluation, nutrient supplements, insecticide/fungicide combinations and harvest technology.

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Chapin and technician James Thomas led the tour of the variety-evaluation and growth-regulator plots.

The objective of the variety challenge is to compare the performance of new releases to standards across digging dates. In addition, comparisons are made between the use of imidacloprid and Thimet insecticides across multiple varieties.

“The main players are Bailey compared to the newly released varieties,” Chapin said.

Thomas compared the response of a number of peanut varieties to various rates of Apogee growth regulator.

“The key is balancing the use and rate of products with costs,” Thomas said.

Holding a sample of an all-too-familiar weed in hand, a Palmer amaranth (pigweed), Dr. Mike Marshal, extension weed specialist, explained the season’s results of the herbicide plots. The demonstration compared at-plant pre-emergence and post-emergence soil residual herbicide efficacy.

Pre-emergence treatments were applied shortly after planting on May 29 and early postemergence treatment was applied in mid-June about two weeks after planting. Herbicides used in various combinations and at varying rates included Brake, Valor, Outlook, Dual Magnum, Warrant and Zidua.

The third stop on the field tour gave growers a look at the results of various nutrient supplements on peanuts and an explanation of the 2015 soil/foliar fungicide efficacy teat plots. Preliminary results of the effect of various fungicide programs on white mold and leaf spot were observed. The reoccurring problem of tank mix phytotoxicity was also discussed.

The last portion of the 2015 tour included an onsite demonstration of advances in variable-depth peanut-digger research. Precision Ag Engineer Dr. Kendall Kirk and Andrew Warner undated growers on the year’s research.

“The goal is to reduce yield loss and to set up something growers can easily use on farm with their own equipment,” Warner said.

Further information on peanut research at Edisto REC and results from the 2015 trails can be obtained by contacting Dr. Anco at 803-284-3343 or by emailing Dr. Chapin at jchapin@clemson.edu.

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Contact the writer: 138 Nature's Trail, Bamberg, SC 29003.

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