Peanut farmers in the Southeast may feel like kids in a candy store next year when selecting varieties. The extra choices, however, will require closer examination of how the varieties performed in tests in Alabama, Georgia and Florida in order to find the variety that fits particular on-farm situations.

At least 10 new varieties are out of the box and more are in the pipeline in the Southeast, says Dallas Hartzog, Auburn University Extension peanut specialist, speaking at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City Beach, Fla., recently.

Tomato spotted wilt virus weeded out many of the varieties grown only a few years ago. The majority of this new batch of varieties sports the “high-oleic” characteristic, along with a good dose of TSWV resistance.

Interpreting the results of the variety tests will become more important than ever, says John Beasley, University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist.

When interpreting the variety data on a variety test, consider the location of the test, the soil type, irrigated versus non-irrigated, single year versus multiple years, agronomic practices used and the experimental design and testing procedures.

At the end of each season, researchers analyze for “significant differences” among varieties in a test. In other words, the data is analyzed to remove as much variability as possible. For example, the 5 percent level is commonly used to separate variables out of the equation: “A true difference between two varieties would occur five times if tested 100 times,” Beasley says.

For example, in one test on heavier soils at the Southwest Research Station in Plains, Georgia Green, Georgia 01R and AT-201 showed no “statistical” difference even though 249 pounds separated their yields. To interpret the yield data on a variety test, look for the lower-case letters following the yield. In the Plains data, the yields of the three varieties are followed by a lower-case abc, indicating no “statistical difference” between the yields of 6,249 pounds per acre, 6,146 pounds per acre or 6,000 pounds per acre.

“When interpreting yield data from a variety test, you need to know what type of soil is at the location,” Beasley says. “It may have done well under heavier soils, but your farm may have lighter soils.” For producers in Alabama, they need to look at the Alabama variety tests before choosing a variety. The same goes for producers in Georgia and Florida: Seek out the variety test results from your state, near where you produce peanuts.

Seed size is also an important consideration — the larger the number, the smaller the seed size.

For 2002, Dan Gorbet released six new varieties out of his breeding program at the University of Florida. Bill Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder, has released three new varieties in the past two years.

Among the six new Florida releases: Andru II, GP-1, Norden, Hull, Carver and DP-1.

Among the three new Georgia releases are: Georgia Hi O/L, Georgia-01R and an as-yet-unnamed variety, GA 982508.

Agra-Tech 201 is a recent release from AgraTech.

Andru II is an early-maturing, high oleic runner. It is high-yielding and has TSWV resistance. It is contracted to Anderson Peanut Company.

GP-1 is an early-maturing, high oleic runner, contracted to Golden Peanut. It has weak TSWV resistance and will probably be grown in west Texas because of its short-season.

Norden is a medium, high oleic variety with good yields and good TSWV resistance. It is a replacement for SunOleic 97R. Norden is a general release variety.

Hull is a late-maturing jumbo runner variety with excellent yield and good resistance to TSWV. It also has excellent resistance to white mold. It is being touted as a replacement for C-99R. Hull, named for an early peanut breeder, is also a general release variety.

Carver is a medium maturity runner with excellent yields and very good TSWV resistance. Carver boasts some white mold resistance and is a general release.

DP-1 is a late-season runner with good to exceptional yields. The variety has excellent TSWV, leafspot and white mold resistance. In tests DP-1 had yield of more than two tons per acre without the benefit of a single spray for white mold. It is contracted to Damascus Peanut Company.

AgraTech-201 is a medium-maturing, high oleic runner. High yields and TSWV resistance are its calling cards. AgraTech-201 was released in 1999.

Georgia Hi O/L is a medium-maturity, high oleic runner with high TSWV resistance. The variety has a high amount of extra large kernels.

Georgia-01R is a late-maturing, runner with good resistance to TSWV, early and late leafspot, white mold, Cylindracladium black rot (CBR) and leafhopper. Georgia 01-R is first released variety to have resistance to an insect. It has a tan seed coat.

An unnamed variety, GA 982508, is a high-oleic, medium-maturing runner with seed size slightly larger than AgraTech-201. The variety has excellent TSWV resistance and some CBR resistance.