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High peanut yields, profits may differ

Choosing the highest yielding peanut variety may not be the same as choosing the most profitable variety, according to five years of testing by the Peanut Variety and Quality Evaluation Program at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center (TAREC).

Based on yield, the top Virginia type variety was Phillips at 5,467 pounds per acre, followed by Wilson at 5,464, VA98-R at 5,354, Champs at 5,317, NC-V11 at 5,305, Brantley at 5,281, Gregory at 5,262, Perry at 5,028, and NC12 at 4,902. Brantley is a new variety from North Carolina and Champs is a new variety developed by Virginia Tech.

Though yield remains a determining factor in overall profitability, there are some significant differences between highest yielding and most profitable, notes Virginia Tech Peanut Specialist Joel Faircloth.

Phillips remained the most profitable at $1,006 per acre. VA98-R jumped ahead of Wilson at $961 per acre, followed by NC-V11 at $947, jumping both Wilson and Champs in terms of profitability. Wilson at $943 per acre and Champs at $939 were fourth and fifth, followed by Brantley at $937, Gregory at $915, Perry at $908 and NC-12 at $894.

Faircloth notes these yields and dollar values come from five years of testing. All the peanuts in the tests were irrigated as needed and received premium disease control. “We tried to remove as many variables as we could in these tests, and I think the data is as accurate as we can get it,” Faircloth says.

He stresses that disease susceptibility is another key factor in determining both yield and profitability of any variety grown in Virginia. Slightly increased tolerance to diseases by the proven varieties NC-V11 and VA 98R may explain their jump in profitability over some of the newer varieties.

In 2006 Faircloth and Dennis Coker took three of the top Virginia type varieties — Phillips, Brantley and Champs — and compared these in yield and profitability with three top runner type varieties — Georgia Green, Georgia 02C and Georgia 03L. These tests were conducted at two sites, one in Southampton County and one at the TAREC in Suffolk.

Each test site for the Virginia type, runner type comparison had two dig dates — Oct. 1 and Oct. 31 in Suffolk and Oct. 23 and Nov. 1 at Southampton. Each variety had three different planting patterns — single row at four seed per foot, twin rows at two seed per foot and twin rows at three seed per foot in each row. “That planting gave us 24 replications for each variety, and we feel like that gave us some very reliable data, although it is only one year of testing,” Faircloth says.

Georgia Green was the highest yielding runner type variety, followed by Georgia 03L and significantly lower was Georgia 02C. “Georgia 03L is a little more early maturing and may provide us with some planting options,” Faircloth notes.

In the Southampton tests, among the Virginia type varieties Phillips was the highest yielding variety and was comparable in yield to Georgia Green. Brantley was the next highest yielding variety, followed by Champs, which was comparable to Georgia 03L and Georgia 02C.

Faircloth notes these tests were conducted on a sandy soil, compared to a much heavier soil at the TAREC in Suffolk.

In tests at Suffolk, Georgia Green was the highest over-all variety, followed by Georgia 03L, followed by Georgia 02C. Phillips had the fourth highest overall yield and highest among the Virginia type varieties, followed by Brantley and Champs.

“We didn't see any significant yield bump from twin rows nor from increased seeding rates across both locations for Virginia type peanuts, Faircloth says. There appeared to be some advantage on the heavier soils for runner types. We didn't see much difference in dig dates, though some increases showed up in the runner types associated with delayed digging, he says.

In terms of profitability, the three runner type peanuts were the most profitable. Georgia Green was the most profitable, followed closely by Georgia 02C and Georgia 03L, with very little difference between the latter two varieties. Following in profitability were Phillips, Champs and Brantley at the lowest dollar value per acre.

Runners significantly out-yielded Virginia types and were more profitable on the heavier soils at the Suffolk location. On the lighter soils, more typical of Virginia conditions, there was little difference in yields or profitability, Faircloth explains. If Virginia growers are looking at planting runners, areas with heavier soils may be the place to plant these varieties.

Across the five-year variety tests and the two-year comparison tests, Phillips appears to be the most valuable Virginia type variety and Georgia Green the most valuable runner type. However, the input costs associated with disease control are an important consideration.

The plots in these trials are kept virtually disease free and there is significant disease variability with Virginia type varieties. In general, the older, more proven Virginia type varieties, NC-V11 and VA 98R remain among the most profitable Virginia type varieties.

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