By Clint Thompson
The Georgia Peanut Commission’s (GPC) annual Research and Report Day on Wednesday highlighted ongoing projects from researchers at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and U.S. Department of Agriculture. It provided insight into the future of peanut production, says Donald Chase, research chairman at the GPC.
“When we make our decisions in March of every year about the projects we think are worth funding, this day brings that full circle,” Chase said. “We just saw a really cool presentation on robots and how the researchers can use that to help them in their job do a more efficient use of resources. That was pretty exciting, because that was something we talked about. To see it come full circle is good for us as a researcher-funding organization.”
Research highlights encompassed various topics ranging from uniformity in seed emergence; precision agricultural practices for nutrient management; plant growth regulators’ impact on seed germination; and the effect tractor speed has on seed placement.
“Where might this research take us in the future that we can say, ‘Hey, this is going to be big?’ Now it’s come out that we’re going to be looking at a peanut with late leaf spot resistance. That’s a game change for growing peanuts in Georgia,” Chase said. “I think we all have to be thinking about, ‘Well, what are the possibilities?’ The industry, not just the growers, but the entire industry has implemented a peanut genome initiative (years ago) and now we’re seeing the results of that. That’s part of this late leaf spot resistance. What other kind of resistance can we see that will help us. As costs have risen, it’s important that we talk about reducing our inputs. While that maybe a few years off, I’m looking forward to that day when we can reduce those inputs.”
The GPC funded more than $800,000 in research projects last year. Combined with funding from the National Peanut Board, the total neared $1.4 million.
“It’s pretty easy to demonstrate a return on investment for the farmer by funding research. That’s never been a problem, and it’s something I think we continue to emphasize,” Chase said.