Without question, more and better peanut varieties are being developed for U.S. producers. But uncertainties remain over seed availability and how quickly the cultivars will be adapted to the farm.
“I was raised on a little peanut farm in Dale County, Ala.,” says Kris Balkcom, Auburn University Extension peanut agronomist. “I've been growing peanuts all of my life, and I've never known of a time when we've had this many varieties from which to choose, and that's a good thing.”
But it still may take time — due to inadequate seed supplies and the tendency of some growers to stick with what's tried and true — for some of these improved varieties to be grown on a wide scale.
“There are enough of these new varieties out there that we can select some with more disease and virus resistance than Georgia Green,” says AU Extension Entomologist Ron Weeks. “Right now, seed producers are holding the bag for us. We were told in December by the seed industry that 60 percent of this year's crop still will be planted in Georgia Green. We would have hoped that we would have been moving to some of these newer varieties two or three years ago. But it will be awhile before we see adequate seed of some of the new ones.”
New releases from this past year from the University of Florida, says Balkcom, include Florida-07, McCloud and York.
“Florida-07 is a longer season peanut, about 140 to 145 days, with excellent yields and good virus resistance. But you won't see a lot of seed for that variety this year. McCloud is a mid-season peanut, about 135 days. It doesn't have as much virus resistance as 07, but it's another tool we can use. York is a long-season peanut, about 155 days. It is small, like Georgia Green, with good grades and high yields,” he says.
Georgia-06G and Georgia Greener are two new high-yielding, tomato spotted wilt virus-resistant, high-yielding, runner-type peanut varieties that were released in 2006 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations, says Bill Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder.
Georgia-06G is a larger-seeded runner-type variety, whereas Georgia Greener is more of a regular-seeded runner-type variety, says Branch.
“Both varieties have an intermediate decumbent runner growth habit, tan seed coat and medium maturity similar to Georgia Green. Georgia-06G and Georgia Greener have darker green foliage color,” he says.
In several multi-location tests conducted in Georgia during the past four years (2003-06), Georgia-06G and Georgia Greener were found to be among the lowest in mid-season tomato spotted wilt virus incidence and late-season total disease incidence while being the highest in pod yield, TSMK grand and dollar value return per acre compared to other runner-types tested each year.
Limited seed supplies will be available for Georgia-06G and Georgia Greener in the 2008 planting season, says Branch. “Interested growers should consider an early seed request for this upcoming growing season,” he adds.
Peanut varieties for the 2008 production season include the following:
Andru II is an early maturity variety, but not as early as Andru 93 or ViruGard. It has high-oleic oil chemistry, excellent resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and good white mold resistance. Anderson's Peanut Company is the major supplier of Andru II seed.
This is a medium-maturity variety released by the University of Florida that has been licensed to Anderson Peanuts. It is a sister line to Carver. AP-3 has excellent resistance to TSWV and white mold, the highest available in a medium-maturity variety. Yields and grades were very good at Marianna and Gainesville.
This release from AgraTech/Golden Peanut Company has a typical runner growth habit and good early season emergence and vigor. It has a maturity range similar to Georgia Green with a seed size similar to Georgia-02C.
This release from AgraTech/Golden Peanut Company has a typical runner growth habit, good early season emergence and vigor. It has high-oleic fatty acid composition, which improves oil stability and shelf life. The maturity is the same as Georgia Green and seed size is medium to large. It has good resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus.
This is a medium maturity variety with good resistance to TSWV and white mold. It has some resistance to CBR and rhizoctonia limb rot. Carver has good yield potential. A good leafspot spray is needed for this variety.
This has been one of the higher-yielding entries in tests at multiple locations and usually ranks as one of the best in resistance to TSWV. C-99R has resistance to leafspot, white mold, rust and has a small amount of resistance to CBR. It is a late-maturing variety with large seed and calcium needs that are similar to a Virginia type.
Ga 01R was released by the University of Georgia in 2001 and has shown resistance to TSWV, leafspot and CBR. It is similar to C-99R in seed size and maturity. It also has a spreading runner growth habit.
This high-oleic runner-type peanut was released in 2002 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. It has high-oleic and low-linoleic fatty acid content for improved oil quality. It has good resistance to both TSWV and cylindrocladium black rot (CBR).
This variety has a maturity range similar to Georgia Green. It has significantly larger pods and seed than Georgia Green. It has one of the highest levels of resistance to TSWV of all the runner-type varieties, but it lacks resistance to other diseases.
Due to high yields, good grades and resistance to TSWV and white mold, Georgia Green has become a very popular variety. Georgia Green has a small amount of resistance to late leafspot and CBR, but it does not take as long to mature as did Southern Runner, one of its parents.
Tifrunner is a late-maturing cultivar developed and released by USDA-ARS scientists in Tifton, Ga. It has a medium seed size (larger than Georgia Green) and is not high oleic. Tifrunner has excellent resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus and leafspot but is more susceptible to white mold than other runner-type cultivars. Seed supply of Tifrunner will be very limited in 2007.
This variety matures 14 to 21 days earlier than other commonly grown varieties such as Georgia Green. It is a cross between NC-7 and Florunner, and it has a spreading bunch growth habit. ViruGard has good TSWV tolerance/resistance.
New runner varieties with limited seed availability in 2008 include Georgia-06G, Florida-07, York and McCloud. Georgia-06G, Florida-07 and McCloud have a maturity range similar to Georgia Green while York is late maturing, similar to Georgia-02C and C-99R.
Gregory is a high-yielding variety that produces high percentages of jumbo pods and extra-large kernels with good TSWV resistance. Of the Virginia types, Gregory has been among the most resistant to TSWV.
This variety has larger seed than many others that are commercially available. It has an intermediate growth habit and normally matures in 150 to 155 days in Virginia. NC 7 is not as resistant to TSWV as Gregory.
This variety matures three to five days earlier than NC 7. It has a runner-type growth habit. It is somewhat resistant to CBR but is highly susceptible to sclerotinia blight and leafspot.
Except for CBR resistance and slightly earlier maturity, NC 12C is similar to NC 7. Under close plant spacing or conditions of high water availability, NC 12C produces excessive vine growth.
This 1989 joint release from North Carolina and Virginia is an early maturing variety that produces good yields. In Florida tests, the grade has tended to be lower than with other Virginia varieties. This variety has some resistance to TSWV and white mold under low pressure.
This variety is susceptible to all major diseases in the region. It has a runner growth habit and matures about five days earlier than NC 7.
This variety has good resistance to CBR, sclerotinia blight and web blotch. Perry tends to be highly susceptible to TSWV. It has a spreading runner growth habit.
Wilson matures five to seven days earlier than NC-7 and has excellent qualities for in-shell markets. It is moderately susceptible to TSWV, leafspot and other diseases in the Virginia-Carolina region.
This high-yielding, high-oleic variety is intended for the same confectionary markets as other Spanish types. It has much better resistance to TSWV than other Spanish varieties. Seed supply will be limited for 2006.
Starr has an upright growth habit with plants typically producing flowers on the main stem. The maturity is similar to other Spanish cultivars. It has no resistance to common peanut diseases and insects.
This variety has plant characteristics very similar to Starr.
This variety is typical of Spanish-type peanut cultivars in vegetative growth, rate of growth, and mainstem height. It has some resistance to pythium pod rot and scletorinia blight compared to Florunner and Starr.
Pronto is a cross between two Spanish lines, Chico and Comet. Its plants exhibit more yellow-green color than other Spanish cultivars. Pronto matures three to four weeks earlier than Florunner and has yields and grades similar to Spanco.
Spanco is a sister line to Pronto but has greener foliage color when mature. It is similar to Pronto in yield and grade.
This is a Valencia-red cultivar that has outyielded and graded better than all other Valencia cultivars in Georgia. It is an excellent choice for the fresh-market boiling trade and home garden use.
The variety has a larger seed size compared to other Valencia varieties. It is an excellent choice for the fresh market boiling trade in the Southeast.