The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) board of directors has approved $260,000 in new research project funding for its 2012-13 research budget.
This action was taken during the Commission's March board meeting.
The research projects approved include 22 project proposals from the 27 submitted by the University of Georgia and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.
"We are proud of our close relationship and partnership with research institutions in the state," says Donald Chase, Georgia Peanut Commission Research Committee chairman.
"Peanut growers are pleased to invest in the future by providing monetary support for research and education that has continued to demonstrate a return on our investment.”
Georgia's peanut growers invest $2 per ton annually toward research, promotion, and education programs of the GPC. Annual research funding has tracked at 21 percent of available GPC funds.
This year the GPC will also manage 18 additional Georgia research projects using $526,000 in contracted funds from the National Peanut Board. There will be 40 total research projects in the amount of $786,000 managed by the GPC in 2012-13.
"The importance of peanut producers' investments in research cannot be underestimated," says Emory Murphy, GPC Research Committee secretary.
Murphy noted that peanut research and Extension programs have contributed to four historical state record yields out of the past five consecutive years.
"Cultivars planted by growers today are producing 700 to 1,000 pounds an acre more than the cultivars they were growing five or six years ago," Murphy says.
On nearly half of the U.S. production, Georgia peanut yields are consistently higher than other states while maintaining and improving quality.
Success has been no accident
The growth and success of Georgia's peanut industry has been no accident guided by 50 years of the GPC leadership. Georgia peanut growers have seen yields increase from 1,000 pounds per acre in 1961 to over 3,500 pounds per acre today — a 350 percent increase.
"This is a testament to our research and education efforts and our growers," Chase says.
"These new higher yielding and disease resistant varieties we are developing are available to all the other states, but Georgia farmers simply do an excellent job of controlling weeds, pests and diseases, and managing cultural practices and resources.”
The research programs have focused on economics; conservation methods; irrigation and water management; peanut breeding for higher yield and improved quality; pests, weed and disease management; and allergen free peanuts.
The GPC is stepping up efforts by funding research on the development and evaluation of new cultivars with an emphasis on disease resistance genetic markers, looking at Global Positioning System (GPS) managed systems and remote sensing using the automated weather and climate network data, improving methods to determine maturity, improving planter and planting issues, and looking for answers for the burrower bug nemesis.
Chase says it is obvious the peanut industry must continue to press for public or government support as we have lost thirteen peanut scientists in Georgia over the past 10 years. Five of them were critical peanut scientists and Extension positions lost in the past five years that have not been replaced.
"Ten years ago with 13 additional scientists we would have had 50 project proposals submitted for funding verses the 27 we received this year," Chase says.
"The Georgia Legislature has committed to funding one of these positions this year but, realistically, we feel we will have to fund a larger portion of the jobs ourselves in the future if, indeed, these critical research and extension positions are filled at all.
" For additional information visit, http://www.gapeanuts.com. For a list of approved FY 2012-13 research projects, visit: http://www.gapeanuts.com/growerinfo/research/fy2012_13_researchapproved.pdf.