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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Production Research
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NPRL is involved in all phases of peanut production. We are currently examining the best tillage practices, most efficient way to use water, and just how the peanut plant uses the water provided.

For more information contact:


There are 4 primary irrigation regimes being examined at various locations

1.  Sprinkler Irrigation - Objectives

  • Determine economic impacts of irrigation methods (pre-harvest and post-harvest) in constrained and unconstrained water scenarios.
  • Examine profitability of cropping systems (short and long term). 
  • Determine optimal amounts of water to maximize yields and profits of selected crops for conventional and conservation tillage systems.
  • Identify the most profitable tillage system for a multi-crop system.

        Aerial view of Research Farm 

2.  Subsurface Drip Irrigation - Objective and Research Variables

Determine long term yield, quality, and economic return of peanut when irrigated with subsurface drip irrigation.

        Subsurface drip irrigation controls

Research Variables

  • Crop rotation
  • Drip tube lateral spacing 
  • Irrigation strategies 
  • Fertilizer practices 
  • Row orientation / Seeding rate 
  • Tillage practices 

3.  Surface Drip Irrigation - Objectives and Research Variables

  • Develop and transfer a simple, affordable, and profitable surface drip irrigation system into peanut production. 
  • Determine the short and long term yield, quality, and economic return of a simple surface drip irrigation.

Research Variables 

  • Crop rotation
  • Lateral spacing
  • Strip/no tillage
  • Crop row orientation
  • Drip tube longevity
  • New and emerging crops
  • Economic considerations
  • Drip tube removal

4.  Non-irrigated - Objectives and Research Variables

  • Optimize seeding rate and planting pattern to maximize net farm income 
  • Determine best peanut variety, rotation sequence, and cultural practice input level to maximize net farm income. 

Research Variables 

  • Crop rotation
  • Input levels
  • Peanut varieties
  • Row orientation
  • Seeding rates

        Aerial view showing non-irrigated field

The following associations / universities are collaborating on these projects:

  • Auburn University
  • J. Leek Associates, Inc.
  • New Mexico Peanut Research Board
  • New Mexico State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Peanut Producers Association
  • University of Georgia
  • Western Peanut Growers Association

For more information contact :
Marshall Lamb
Wilson Faircloth
Russell Nuti
Ron Sorensen


Furrow Diking

Furrow diking improves water capture in row crops. This tillage operation helps capture more rainfall by reducing runoff up to 300%. The Southeast receives an average annual rainfall of 50 inches; we are making attempts to take better advantage of this valuable resource. 

Research at the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, GA has shown increased water savings, yield, and economic returns in peanut, corn, and cotton by using furrow dikes. This tillage operation creates a series of basins and dams in the furrow between crop rows to help capture water.

Peanut rows showing dry furrows and dams. Peanut rows showing water held in furrow dikes.

The equipment necessary for furrow diking is not expensive and can be attached to common cultivation equipment. In corn and cotton, furrow diked crops required 1 to 5 fewer irrigation events to produce equal or greater yield. 

In rainfall simulation studies, furrow diking captured 7 days of plant available water compared to 4 days in non-diked treatments with equal rainfall.

Furrow diking improved irrigated corn yield by 21 bu/A and non-irrigated corn yield by 8 bu/A. Non-irrigated cotton yield in 2006 was improved up to 58% and net return of irrigated cotton was improved by up to $170/A. Irrigation requirements in furrow diked peanuts were reduced by 1/3 and did not reduce yield at 4800 lb/A.


For more information, contact Russell Nuti.


Plant Physiology

Peanut physiological research at the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory is focused in two primary areas:

1.  drought responses and water-use efficiency, and

Plant Peanut peg identification

2.  physiological responses involved in disease resistance

Peanut plant infected with TSWV Normal peanut plant

NPRL's program is concentrated in the field physiology realm - examining leaf and whole plant level responses under conditions typically experienced by the crop during the growing season.  Objectives are aimed at determining methods of crop management that can be economically applied by growers and that manipulate physiological responses in a beneficial way.  For example, topics being investigated include:

  • eliciting drought acclimation responses in the crop through exposure to early season water deficits;
  • providing physiologically based selection methods for improved water-use efficiency in peanuts;
  • determining the critical periods of plant viral infection to better target control measures and improve their performance;
  • and applying chemical treatments that initiate genetic responses in peanuts that increase disease tolerance throughout the season.

Please view or download the following pdfdocument:

Root Studies Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
Waters Use  

For more information contact Wilson Faircloth.

Last Modified: 3/13/2009