The veteran Virginia Tech scientist says it is imperative that growers know which parts of their farm are most likely to have CBR problems. In areas of a field, or in whole fields with heavy CBR pressure, they will have to make some precise decisions as to what variety to plant, especially if they don’t use Vapam.

Because of its susceptibility to CBR, Champs is likely to lose popularity as growers try to offset the loss of Vapam, due to the tighter use regulations.  Champs, released in 2006 by Virginia Tech, has replaced NC-V11 as the top Virginia type peanut in the Virginia-Carolina belt.

Maria Bolota, Virginia Tech assistant professor and head of the Peanut Variety and Quality Evaluation (PVQE) Program at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, Va., says growers shouldn’t be so quick to abandon Champs.

With Vapam, Champs performed similar to Bailey and Suggs in her research plots. It’s unfortunate, she says, but without Vapam some growers will plant Bailey and Sugg instead of Champs. However, if they choose to adhere to the new regulations, Champs is still an excellent varietal choice, she adds.

Last year approximately 900 acres of Bailey seed were planted for grower use along with 500 acres of Sugg. How many seed was produced under extreme drought conditions in 2010 isn’t clear, but there will likely be a big demand for the new varieties and also likely supply will be short.

Bailey seed have been built up since the variety was released by the North Carolina State University breeding program in 2008. Seed supply should be good, but replacing Champs on all the acres affected by CBR and Vapam may be too much too quick.   

Sugg is the newest Virginia-type peanut selected as part of a program to develop cultivars with multiple disease resistance. It has an alternate branching pattern, intermediate runner growth habit, medium green foliage, and high contents of fancy pods.

In testing in North Carolina, it has averaged approximately 43 percent jumbo pods and 44 percent fancy pods, and extra large kernel content of approximately 48 percent.

Sugg is partially resistant to resistant to the four most common diseases in the Virginia-Carolina peanut production area: early leafspot, cylindrocladium black rot (CBR), sclerotinia blight (SB), and tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV).

Sugg was released in 2009. Seed supply was limited in 2010 and will likely be similarly limited for the 2011 season.

Uncertainty over Temik availability for 2011 is another concern for Virginia peanut growers, Crumpler says. There are all kinds of rumors about distributors not being able to sell it because of legal issues. If Temik isn’t available, the Virginia grower says that’s one more strike against increasing peanut acreage.

The seed treatment business is brisk, as distributors scramble to find fungicide-treated seed. Getting CBR tolerant peanut seed and getting that variety coated with the desired fungicide is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces missing. The missing pieces are mostly related to price.

The ripple affect of Vapam and Temik problems will likely be a return to longer rotations, and to rotations that include corn.

Crumpler says he will double his cotton acreage this year, increase his peanut acreage slightly and keep corn in his rotation. The loser in acreage in his case will be full-season soybeans. “I’ll keep my double-crop beans behind wheat, but low yield expectations for soybeans just don’t work out in my operation,” he says.

rroberson@farmpress.com