Three relatively new runner-type peanut varieties — Georgia Green, C-99R and AgraTech 201 — have been released in the Southeast in recent years, giving growers more options as planting time approaches.

In 2000 and 2001, these three runner varieties were compared in irrigated and dryland tests at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Ga., says Bill Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder. “Georgia Green was found to have the lowest disease incidence, the highest yield, better grade and greater dollar value return per acre as compared to C-99R and AgraTech 201 irrigated tests as well as non-irrigated tests,” says Branch.

On the average — with and without irrigation — Georgia Green and C-99R were much lower in disease percentage compared to AgraTech 201, he adds. Georgia Green produced 900 pounds per acre more and 1,200 pounds more with irrigation and 500 pounds per acre more and 950 pounds more without irrigation than C-99R and AT 201, respectively, notes Branch.

The TSMK grade was 1 to 2 percent better with irrigation and 2 to 3 percent better without irrigation for Georgia Green when compared to the other two runner varieties. Georgia Green, says Branch, also resulted in greater than $300 and $400 per acre more with irrigation and nearly $200 and $350 per acre more without irrigation than C-99R and AgraTech 201, respectively.

More than 90 percent of Georgia's 2001 peanut acreage was planted in Georgia Green. Released in 1995 by the University of Georgia, Georgia Green is a high yielding, tomato spotted wilt virus-resistant, runner market-type that has performed consistently well across many different environments and management systems (irrigated and dryland fields, single and twin-row patterns and conventional and reduced tillage).

“Good quality, certified seed supply of Georgia Green should be abundant for the upcoming season,” says Branch. “Growers are encouraged to continue following recommended cultural and pest management throughout the growing season for best overall varietal performance.”

C-99R was released in 1999 by the University of Florida. It's a large-seeded runner-type peanut that also has resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus. C-99R is later in maturity than Georgia Green by two to three weeks. And, because of its larger seed size, it has a higher seed cost.

Tomato spotted wilt virus has been the most significant peanut disease in the Southeast for several years, says Dan Gorbert, professor of agronomy and head of the University of Florida's peanut breeding program in Marianna. “Currently, there are no chemical controls for the disease, so resistant peanut varieties and good management techniques are the only weapons we have,” he says.

C-99R, says Gorbert, has greater tomato spotted wilt virus resistance than its competition, including Georgia Green. “C-99R also resists late leafspot and stem rot/white mold, which require costly fungicide treatments, and it has the highest yield potential of any peanut suitable for the Southeast,” he says.

Peanut yield varies from year to year and from location to location, says Gorbert. But on average, he adds, C-99R produces more pounds per acre than other varieties.

Gorbert, however, doesn't expect C-99R to completely replace Georgia Green. “This variety is designed to offer growers an alternative to standard peanuts, so farmers should make sure that C-99R will meet their buyer's needs before planting it,” he says.

C-99R, he continues, is harvested in late September and early October. “Many Southeastern peanut farmers prefer to harvest in early September so they can plant winter forage by Oct. 1 and graze cattle during fall and winter.

“If a farmer grows other crops harvested in early September, C-99R can help to spread out the harvest schedule and make it more manageable.”

The seed, or edible part, of the C-99R is larger than average for a runner peanut, says Gorbert.

“C-99R isn't for everybody, but it should work well for producers who can use it. High yield and disease resistance make C-99R a low-cost, low-risk variety. And with peanut support prices expected to be reduced soon, these are important considerations,” he says.

C-99R seed was made available to the general public in April 2001, with the peanut being produced on 50,000 to 100,000 Southeastern acres. Seed supplies should be ample for the 2002 planting season, says Gorbert. The variety is licensed to Golden Peanut Company.

AgraTech 201 is a recently released high-oleic, runner-type peanut variety developed by AgraTech Seeds, Inc. It has similar maturity but more vine growth than Georgia Green.

AgraTech 201 matures approximately 130 to 140 days after planting under favorable conditions, according to AgraTech officials. The variety has performed well in various trails for several years.

For the past two years, AgraTech 201 has been in production at the Foundation and Registered Seed level. There is no indication, say company officials, that higher splits and LSK's is a varietal trait of AgraTech 201.

“AgraTech 201 has a thin hull and, when dry, kernels are not tight but loose in the hull. When harvesting AgraTech 201, producers should adjust their combines accordingly. Taking out fingers and running at a lower ground speed will help to minimize splits and LSK's. Producers also should be careful during the drying process not to dry the variety too fast or reduce moisture too low. Due to AgraTech's thin hull, it may tend to dry more quickly than other varieties and, therefore, may result in being over-dried. This then results in higher splits,” according to information from AgraTech Seeds, Inc.

The supply of AgraTech 201 seed will be limited this year, say company officials, but there still should be between 20 and 30 million pounds of Registered and Certified seed available for the 2002 crop. Growers who have questions regarding AgraTech 201 can call 1-888-271-6586 or 229-567-3438.