Transgenic peanuts that offer resistance to peanut leaf spots and could significantly reduce production costs, are among research programs that hold promise of benefits to growers in years ahead.

“We have an experimental transgenic peanut that appears to have extremely high resistance, or even borderline immunity, for early and late leaf spot,” says Marshall Lamb, research director for the USDA/Agricultural Research Service National Peanut Research Laboratory at Dawson, Ga.

“In greenhouse work, we never had to spray for leaf spots — you couldn’t find a lesion anywhere on the plants,” he said at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association at Hattiesburg.

“These have been turned over to Auburn University pathologists, who will challenge them with leaf spot inoculum and do initial testing to determine resistance levels.

“We’re very excited about the potential for this variety. It could mean you might never have to spray for leaf spot again (which in our area is every 10 days to 14 days). That would be a major benefit for growers. Also, the parent is from a very high yielding line, which could mean a very productive, leaf spot-resistant peanut.”

Lamb emphasizes that there are no transgenic peanuts in edible markets today, that the varieties “are only in the experimental stage, and it will be years before any transgenic varieties will even be considered for release.”

In other variety work, he says, Auburn University and the National Peanut Laboratory have an extensive breeding program that includes a number of promising experimental lines.

“In tests over four locations, GA 06G averaged 5,900 pounds, and we had yield from one of the experimental lines that averaged 6,016 pounds.