Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) production in U.S. is concentrated in the Southeast, with Georgia being the largest producer. Peanut is typically rotated with cotton (Gossypium spp.) and corn (Zea mays), and it is common for producers to leave fields fallow in the winter. Scott Tubbs, an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia, is interested in ways peanut farmers can improve their land use practices and saw an opportunity to generate revenue on those fallow fields by implementing a multiple-cropping system.
Multiple cropping, where farmers harvest two crops from the same field in a single season, can be executed in several ways. Double cropping is when two crops are grown in succession, with the second crop being planted after the first is harvested. Relay intercropping is similar, but the second crop is seeded into the first while it is still on the landscape. Given the rapid succession or overlap on the land, crops must be selected with consideration for planting and harvest dates, nutrient requirements, and herbicide restrictions.
Tubbs and colleagues designed an experiment to test the potential for soft red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to be planted in the fall, followed by a peanut crop in the spring. They compared a double-crop system (wheat harvested before peanut planted), relay intercropping (peanut planted into wheat), and peanut without wheat. Given the herbicide use restrictions for wheat and peanut, the study was also an opportunity to determine if the use of a postemergence herbicide, without pre-emergence applications, would effectively control weeds in peanut fields. The results of this study were recently reported in Crop, Forage, & Turfgrass Management (read the original paper here: http://bit.ly/2x5HU63).