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New Varieties for 2001

Ongoing research strives for high yielding, disease resistant varieties.

By Amanda Huber

Growers want more out of the varieties they select, more yield and more disease resistance. Achieving those results is not easy.

"What we are working toward is a variety that will carry resistance to all the prevalent diseases and still have good yield and quality," says Thomas Isleib, North Carolina State University peanut breeder.

Isleib compared peanut breeding to juggling. "It is like juggling more and more balls. One or two breeding objectives can be met relatively easily, but it is difficult to achieve progress toward a large number of objectives simultaneously."

The most up-to-date research on the newest varieties offering growers more of what they want follows:

According to Isleib, the variety Perry continues to look good in trials.

"We have been testing Perry since 1993, and it is slightly more resistant to CBR than NC 10C and NC 12C, but offers the most resistance available," he says. "It shows moderate resistance to Sclerotinia, comparable to the Virginia series."

Isleib says they continue to look at Perry’s potential resistance against spotted wilt.

"It has a decent package of disease resistance with good yield and grade," Isleib says. "Occasionally, it has shown outstanding yields."

Less than 100 acres of certified seed was available this past year, and it will be limited for 2001.

Released by Texas A&M and named for a long-time Texas farmer, the variety COAN is highly resistant to Southern root knot nematode. The variety was developed in a joint project between a peanut breeder and a nematologist. The nematode resistance gene comes from a wild peanut species collected in South America.

The variety, however, does not yield as well as traditional varieties because of reduced vine growth.

"The variety produces 17 percent smaller vines than Florunner, which reduces yields below acceptable levels," says Charles Simpson, Texas A&M peanut breeder. "Another nematode-resistant breeding line is being tested at the research station and has shown a yield increase of 40 percent over COAN. It will be released in the next 12 months."

The Texas drought hurt efforts to increase seed of COAN and the new breeding line. A limited amount of COAN seed will be available in 2001.

AgraTech 201
"We thought AgraTech 201 held up really well this year against TSWV," says Fabian Watts, director of marketing and sales for AgraTech. "In variety tests, the 201 averaged 4,345 pounds per acre, while Georgia Green averaged 4,054 pounds per acre. A three-year average yield for the 201 was 4,370 pounds per acre, and Georgia Green averaged 3,706 pounds per acre."

Glen Lee Chase of Chase Farms can attest to 201’s resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV), but he also looks at other characteristics of the variety.

"When compared to Georgia Green in twin rows, AgraTech 201 does make more vine, but yield and grade are about the same," Chase says. "An important factor that we consider, besides resistance to TSWV, is its erect mainstem, which makes marking the row easier. This allows us to stay on the row while digging, and we get more peanuts."

Gene Hobgood, of Plains, Ga., agrees that the growth pattern of AgraTech 201 increases harvest efficiency.

"At digging, they were easier to invert because of the better vine growth," Hobgood says. "My AgraTech 201’s had much better yields than my Georgia Green’s, with an average of 5,687 pounds per acre and an average grade of 78 percent."

AgraTech 201 matures at 130 days to 135 days. Growth habit, seed size and shape of this runner variety are similar to GK 7, with darker green foliage. The variety continues to show good milling characteristics, with a bright pink seed coat.

AgraTech 1-1
"We looked at AgraTech 1-1 in several different tests," Watts says. "It showed a medium tolerance to TSWV, but it looked good. It performed well in a test with no irrigation, yielding 3,796 pounds per acre, compared to AgraTech 201 at 3,750 pounds per acre and Georgia Green at 3,674 pounds per acre."

AgraTech 1-1 is an early-maturing variety, which can help growers spread out harvest.

"Farmers seem to like its earliness," Watts says. "In the Southeast, it matures at about 120 days. This allows growers to use their harvesting equipment more efficiently and reduces the need for late-season irrigation and fungicide applications."

According to Watts, AgraTech 1-1 has excellent tolerance to spotted wilt. It emerges well and has good seedling vigor that helps it stave off early diseases. The variety makes a good canopy and covers the soil, reducing both extreme heat and weed emergence.

Registered seed for both AgraTech 201 and AgraTech 1-1 will be available this year.

A variety with multiple disease resistance, C-99R is a late-maturing variety, maturing 10 days to 14 days later than Georgia Green.

"As far as yields, it was a mixed bag in 2000," says Mitchell Burke, Golden Peanut Co. "In single rows, it yielded the same as Georgia Green, but in twin rows it did not seem to do as well.

"It was excellent against disease. On the TSWV Risk Index, it is in a classification all its own, with the highest disease resistance. It also has resistance to leafspot."

C-99R is a larger seeded variety and, Burke says, an application of gypsum is a must. But, you can make up that extra cost with the disease resistance package the variety offers.

The variety is in its first year of certified seed production.

AgraTech’s Virginia variety, VC-2, was tested at a research farm in Brownfield, Texas.

"It had an outstanding yield," Watts says. "The two-year average for AgraTech’s VC-2 was 6,665 pounds per acre, and for NC-7 the two-year average was 5,895 pounds per acre."

VC-2 has tolerance to TSWV and some tolerance to Sclerotinia blight. Certified seed will be available for 2001.

Watts says higher yielding varieties with greater disease resistance packages are coming down the pike.

"An experimental line, number 9899-02, has shown excellent tolerance to TSWV and tolerance to leaf spot," Watts says. "It is high yielding and matures at 130 days to 140 days."

AgraTech will continue testing the experimental line before deciding whether to release it.