2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Compare the impact of multiple irrigation methods at varying application amounts on profitability, yield, and quality of peanuts and selected crops grown in rotation with peanut.
Objective 2: Compare conservation tillage systems and conventional tillage systems with respect to different irrigation requirements to maximize profitability in a typical Southeastern crop rotation. Cover crop selection and management with regard to irrigation efficiency and pest populations will be an integral component, especially in the conservation tillage systems.
Objective 3: Develop and improve decision support systems to expedite technology transfer and adoption of emerging technologies related to peanut and other crop production.
Objective 4: Quantify the post-harvest impacts of irrigation method and application amount and emerging management technologies on the marketability, demand, and competitiveness of U.S. peanuts (and other crops) in domestic and international markets.
Objective 5: Improved irrigation efficiency through the use of conservation tillage in West Texas peanut and cotton production systems.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Three irrigation methods will be compared, (sprinkler, sub-surface drip, surface drip), three irrigation rates (100%, 66%, 33%), and a non-irrigated control in six replicated rotation sequences including peanuts, cotton, corn, and grain sorghum. The design of these projects will provide direct comparisons to quantify the production and economic impacts of irrigation technologies for the selected crops. Plot data (precipitation, irrigation, soil temperature, soil moisture, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity) will be gathered. Data and information on production practices will be recorded and logged data. Samples from each replication within each treatment will be obtained for post-harvest quality analysis to relate production and management conditions to peanut yield, quality, and economic returns. Compare conservation tillage systems and conventional tillage systems with respect to different irrigation requirements to maximize profitability in a typical Southeastern crop rotation. Cover crop selection and management with regard to irrigation efficiency and pest populations will be an integral component, especially in the conservation tillage systems. Samples from each replication within each treatment will be processed consistent with industry standards for grading, shelling, and marketing. Federal State Inspection Service standards and yield data will be used to determine value per ton and value per acre. Samples will be shelled and processed utilizing commercial standards for peanut processing. Shelling efficiency measurements (technical and economic) will provide data on the impact of pre-harvest management practices through subsequent market channels. Economic efficiency of processing coupled with relevant peanut policy will provide data relating pre-harvest management practices to the final demand and competitiveness of U.S. peanut in domestic and international markets. This vertical systems approach will provide feedback through the market system to enhance the overall marketability of U.S. peanuts. The hypotheses will be tested by utilizing demand equations at subsequent processing levels and marketing segments of the industry incorporated with changes in processing efficiency resulting from each production practice. Hypotheses tested will address the impact of production practices (mainly irrigation and tillage) on post-harvest product quality, processing efficiency, and demand.
Research and field demonstration plots were established in the Southeast and Southwest peanut producing regions to continue investigations related to crop rotations, irrigation scheduling (timing and amount), conservation tillage, and organic cropping systems (consisting of peanut, corn, and cotton). Significant data and information that will sustain peanut competitiveness was obtained focusing on reduced per unit cost of production, improve water use efficiency of cropping systems, and improved management strategies for both “certified” and transitional organic crop production. At each location, installation of soil, environment, and plant monitoring equipment was completed and inputs tracked in the Farm Suite model for economic analyses. Development of new irrigation scheduling tools for peanut, cotton, and corn is continuing. Established 4th year research plots in at multiple locations to evaluated germplasm for suitability in peanut biodiesel. Established first year advanced breeding line assay in Dawson, GA, soliciting 15 entries from peanut breeders in the SE US. Six on-farm sites in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi were established to demonstrate pilot-scale production of peanuts in a low-input, biodiesel style cropping system. Research on improved methods for conversion of peanut oil into biodiesel continued with emphasis on crude oil refinement prior to transesterification into biodiesel.
Five peanut cultivars with superior production performance and oil characteristics were identified. No data exists on cultivar selection to assist producers interested in peanut biodiesel production. Over 40 different cultivars were evaluated under differing management strategies (low and high input) to identify the cultivars best suited for biodiesel production from economic, agronomic, and engine performance standpoints. Data will provide producers information on cultivar selection and management intensity that will encourage on-farm biodiesel production.
Conservation tillage studies in peanut and cotton were completed. An objective of this project was to identify the amount of water savings that could accrue to conservation tillage methods while maintaining yield and quality. Studies focusing the interaction of conservation tillage with irrigation demonstrated water savings of 20% versus conventional tillage in peanut and cotton while maintaining crop yield and quality. Positive impacts include reductions in production cost, irrigation water, and emissions.