Having read Bob Baxter’s article on Pinto Peanut in the last newsletter I was prompted to submit the following to share some of my experiences with this plant. I have been using Pinto Peanut on my property for a number of years, my most recent planting of seed being in September 1999.
The seed is quite expensive ($15 kg in 1999) especially if you are planting large areas at the suggested sowing rates. My experience with direct sowing is that seed is slow to germinate, up to three years in some cases, and with a low germination rate – maybe rodents took the seed or maybe they just dried out, as I do not irrigate. Best time to plant is spring-summer in SE Qld, all year round in the tropics. Seed needs to be planted 2-3 cm deep, recommended sowing rates are lower than Nutri-Tech’s suggestion at 10-20 kg hectare.
This summer, having established a few vigorous areas of the plant, I experimented with transplants. A small section of plant with roots attached was potted into a 50mm pot, kept shaded and well watered until re-established (a matter of weeks) then transplanted to the new location. Success rate has been in the order of 70- 80% and probably would have been higher had we not had such hot dry conditions, I will be planting out more plants in late summer when (hopefully) the temperature has dropped a little and the rains are more regular.
I would recommend anyone wanting to establish this wonderful plant should obtain a small quantity of seed and try planting (1) in situ, (2) in a prepared seed bed (maybe under shade cloth or netting to deter rodents) and (3) in pots (again under cover). Once established after 1-2 years, transplant to other areas.
Best source for seed would be Primac or Grow Force, an information sheet I have from Seed Grain & Biotechnology Australia has a Qld contact of Paul Hinder - Phone (07) 5485 2425, Fax (07) 5485 2471.