YOAKUM — Fungus in soils can cause peanut diseases that trim as much as $40 million off the Texas crop, but growers now have a new tool to fight the common ailments.
“Field studies with Moncut at two to four pounds per acre reduced Southern blight disease pressure up to 83 percent when compared to the untreated check plot,” said James Grichar, research scientist at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Yoakum. He said yields on the treated plots also were higher than in the untreated rows.
Moncut is a systemic fungicide that can both cure and prevent outbreaks of Southern blight, a disease that can drop yields by as much as 1,000 pounds per acre, according to Grichar. At 33 cents per pound and with about 40 percent of the acres typically affected each year, the blight can chalk up a $25 million to $40 million loss on the 260,000-acre Texas industry, he noted.
The chemical, which became available for use on peanuts this year, has been tested at the Yoakum research station since 1991 in fields with a history of Southern blight disease. Commercial peanut fields in Atascosa, Frio and Wilson counties also were used as test plots.
Grichar said Moncut is sprayed broadcast over the top of the plants. It is absorbed and moves through the plant, preventing fungus from growing and not allowing infected fungal cushions to penetrate the plant.
“Moncut consistently provided excellent control of Southern blight,” he said.
At two pounds per acre, he said, Moncut significantly reduced the incidence of fungal disease. The best control came with two applications — one at 60 days and another at 90 days after planting, Grichar pointed out. Plots with two applications had the highest production, more than 33 percent above untreated plots over the four- year study.