Peanut commission increases research funding

Published 5:01 am Friday, March 29, 2013

Special to The Post-Searchlight

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) board of directors has approved $292,500 in new research project funding for the 2013-14 research budget year, according to a GPC press release.

This action was taken during the commission’s March board meeting. The research projects approved include 24 project proposals submitted from the University of Georgia and USDA, Agricultural Research Service.

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“We are proud of our close relationship and partnership with research institutions in the state,” said 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. Due to the tremendous success enjoyed by Georgia peanut farmers in 2012, we were able to increase research funding in 2013.”

Georgia’s peanut growers invest $2 per ton annually toward programs of GPC which includes research, promotion and education. Research comprises 22 percent of available funds in the commission’s budget.

“The importance of peanut producers’ investments in research cannot be underestimated,” said Emory Murphy, GPC Research Committee secretary. Murphy noted that peanut research and extension programs have contributed to five consecutive state record yields.

“Cultivars planted by growers today are producing 1,000 pounds per acre more than the cultivars they were growing five or six years ago,” Murphy said. “We have also seen the state record increase 1,000 pounds per acre in just one year.”

The growth and success of Georgia’s peanut industry is unparalleled in agronomic standings these past five decades since the GPC was established. This has been no accident. Georgia peanut growers have seen yields increase from 1,000 pounds per acre in 1961 to over 4,500 pounds per acre today — a 450 percent increase.

“This is a testament to our research, education efforts and our growers,” Chase said. “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 primarily focus on peanut breeding for higher yield and improved quality; economics; conservation methods; irrigation and water management; pests, weed and disease management; and allergen free peanuts.