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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Rhizoma Peanut - More Than a 'lucerne' for the Subtropical U.S.A.

Authors
item Williams, Mary
item Quesenberry, K. - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Prine, G. - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
item Olson, C. - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Submitted to: International Grasslands Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2004
Publication Date: July 15, 2005
Citation: Williams, M.J., Quesenberry, K.H., Prine, G.M., Olson, C.B. 2005. Rhizoma peanut - more than a 'lucerne' for the subtropical u.s.a.. XX International Grasslands Congress: Offered Papers. p.335

Interpretive Summary: Rhizoma peanut is a perennial relative of the common nut peanut that was introduced as a potential forage crop into Florida from South America in the 1930s. Rhizoma peanut was not adopted initially because research efforts were targeted to cattle producers and productions systems were too expensive for this use. Commercial success was dependant on the realization that rhizoma peanut could be used as a cash crop. Current estimates are that rhizoma peanut sales (predominantly hay, but also includes planting material and ornamental production) exceed $7 million annually. This paper summarizes the reasons why rhizoma peanut has become a 'successful' new crop in the Gulf Coast region of the USA. Major factors that lead to the 'success' of rhizoma peanut were that the technology met a need for high quality hay and ground cover, the technology for production readily fitting into regional farming systems, production is profitable potentially exceeding $1000 per acre, a critical partnership between public and private stakeholders was established to overcome production hurdles, and there were dedicated individuals that championed the crop in its development stage. Future research efforts are directed to developing ornamental cultivars and forage types with wider range of adaptation.

Technical Abstract: Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) was introduced to Florida from South America in the 1930s. Selections 'Arb' (PI 118457) and 'Arblick' (PI 262839) were released in the 1960s, but their use was very limited due to slow establishment and low productivity. It was not until the release of 'Florigraze' (PI 421707) in 1978 and 'Arbrook' (PI 262817) in 1986 by the University of Florida, cultivars which had much higher dry matter production, that this species started to gain commercial acceptance. In 2002, perennial peanut was selected as the 'Plant of the Year' by the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association. Current estimates are that rhizoma peanut sales (predominantly hay, but also includes planting material and ornamental production) exceed $7 million USD. Major reasons for success include that the technology met a need for high quality hay and ground cover, the technology readily fitting into regional farming systems, production is profitable potentially exceeding $1000 per acre, a critical partnership between public and private stakeholders was established to overcome production hurdles, and there were dedicated individuals that championed the crop in its development stage. Future research efforts are directed to developing ornamental cultivars and forage types with wider range of adaptation.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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