A worldwide peanut genome project has an ultimate goal of taking eight to 10 years off the normal time for variety development, a process that usually takes at least 15 years.

• Determining maturity. Research is moving from helping farmers measure maturity as they dig peanuts to actually enabling them to improve the maturity of their crop in the field. Also, a new adjusted growing degree day model adds a degree of precision to the determination of peanut maturity.

• Water management. Some states, including Georgia, are beginning to place water restrictions on farmers who use irrigation. Georgia legislators recently proposed a bill that would establish irrigation efficiency requirements for all agricultural water permits in the Flint River basin, located in the southwest corner of the state.

Farmers can only expect more of these regulations in the future, and peanut research is focusing on improving water use through expert irrigation scheduling programs, drought tolerance, and various water-use studies designed to help growers maximize the efficiency of their water resources.

Water management research in the Southeast also is helping farmers expand their use of drip irrigation, a method that results in a 25-percent reduction in water use

•Disease management. New chemistries will continue to be combined with improved cultivars and annually revised risk-management indexes such as Peanut Rx to promote good stewardship and cost-efficiency in managing peanut diseases.

• Variable rate nematicide applications. Using the popular soil fumigant Telone II can become costly. In addition, meeting federal application standards has gotten more difficult for producers in recent years.

Clemson University Plant Pathologist John Mueller has conducted research on variable-rate applications of various nematicides, including Telone, over the past few years.

Using nematode maps developed from using a Veris rig to measure electric conductivity of the soil, Mueller says his research shows growers can cut Telone use and improve yields by using a variable-rate applicator.

Also contributing to the control of nematodes is the development of cultivars such as Tifguard, which has a high level of resistance to attack by the peanut root-knot nematode.

• Grading advances. With support from the Federal-State Inspection Services, researchers are looking at x-ray technology for grading peanuts.

Grading has been done the same way since the 1960s, and is a great asset for the industry in determining peanut quality, but it is very labor-intensive.

X-ray technology is very fast and as accurate as the current method.

phollis@farmapress.com

Follow the series now:

New, improved varieties leading way for U.S. production

X-ray vision points to more efficient peanut grading system

Early-season disease control keeps peanut yield foe at bay

Water-use efficiency becoming priority for peanut producers who irrigate

Lack of nematicides slows use of variable rate application in peanuts

Taking guesswork out of determining peanut maturity