Peanut producers’ best line of defense against potentially devastating diseases such as tomato spotted wilt virus continues to be new and improved varieties.

And at a time when the introduction of new crop pesticides has slowed to a crawl, peanut growers are reaping the benefits of a development pipeline seemingly full of new cultivars.

“There are many new varieties, and we’re trying to keep up with all of them, but that’s a good problem to have,” says University of Georgia Extension Plant Pathologist Albert Culbreath. Some new varieties offer enough disease resistance, he says, that they eventually may allow growers to be more flexible in their planting dates.

In addition to disease resistance, improved varieties offer the promise of increased value, yield and grade, insect resistance, virus resistance, nematode resistance, aflatoxin resistance, drought tolerance, longer shelf life and enhanced flavor and nutritional qualities, says Bill Branch, University of Georgia peanut breeder.

“Possibly no other single research effort can benefit the whole peanut industry as much as an improved variety,” says Branch. “Peanut breeding is a long-term commitment, with each variety normally requiring about 10 years for development.”

The following peanut varieties are expected to be available to U.S. producers for the 2007 growing season:

Runner Types

Andru II

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.

AP-3

This is a medium-maturity variety released by the University of Florida that has been licensed to Anderson’s 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.

Carver

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.

C-99R

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

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.

Ga 02C

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).

Ga 03L

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.

Georgia Green

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

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.

ViruGard

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.

Virginia Types

Gregory

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.

NC 7

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.

NC 9

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.

NC 12C

Except for CBR resistance and slightly earlier maturity, NC 12C is similar to NC 7. Under close plant spacings or conditions of high water availability, NC 12C produces excessive vine growth.

NC V11

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.

VA 98R

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.

Perry

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

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.

Spanish Types

Ga 04S

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

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.

Tamnut 74

This variety has plant characteristics very similar to Starr.

Tamspan 90

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

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

Spanco is a sister line to Pronto but has greener foliage color when mature. It is similar to Pronto in yield and grade.

Valencia Types

Georgia Red

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.

Georgia Valencia

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.

e-mail: phollis@farmpress.com