Growers will get a chance to see Wynne and Sullivan in tests around the Southeast the next two years and can make some evaluations as to how these new varieties will fit into their production programs.

“Over the years it seems that growers ask many subtle questions — not the kind of things we typically look for as breeders. As we move along in our breeding program, this input becomes invaluable, because in the long-run we are developing these varieties for the grower,” Isleib says.

In the past several years, Bailey, and to a lesser extent Sugg, have been the varieties that are used as a model for future varieties.

 

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“Getting increased disease resistance into these varieties has been the focal point of providing higher yield, more profitable and more sustainable varieties to our growers,” the North Carolina plant breeder says.

Future varieties, he adds, are going to have to have the high oleic characteristics.  “I’m sure of that. Coming down the pike is a high oleic version of Bailey. It’s a couple of years out in the development process, but it’s coming,” Isleib says.

“I have no doubt varieties of the future will be high oleic. I think that’s the peanut that buyers want, and growers will have to grow what buyers want,” he adds.

Peanuts have gained the reputation over the past few years as being a heart-healthy food. With heart disease continuing to be the No. 1 killer of Americans, it is natural that consumers will look for products that are tasty, easy to use and relatively inexpensive, and of the three most common — peanuts, red grapes and olive oil — peanuts best meets these requirements.

High oleic varieties have been around for a while, but few contain the production traits desired by growers.

Perhaps the most promising of the high oleic varieties, from the farmer’s point of view are Georgia-09B — runner type and Georgia-08V — a Virginia type, both released by University of Georgia Peanut Breeder Bill Branch in 2009.