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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #425974

Research Project: Enhancing the Competitiveness of U.S. Peanuts and Peanut-based Cropping Systems

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6044-13210-005-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 1, 2014
End Date: Dec 31, 2018

1. Develop improved irrigation management practices and criteria to reduce irrigation water requirements in southeast cropping systems (cotton, corn, and peanut). 2. Determine the effects of amending soils with Biochar on irrigation scheduling, crop yield, and economics in irrigated and non-irrigated southeast cropping systems. 3. Develop methods to improve peanut maturity distributions and flavor profiles in all US peanut producing regions to enhance economic returns to producers.

The United States peanut industry generates approximately $4.4 billion annually in economic activity. Much of this activity is located in rural areas that are directly dependent on peanuts to sustain rural economies and foster rural economic development. Over the past decade, the peanut industry has been in a period of economic and technological adjustment driven by changes in peanut policy, increased cost of production, and repeated drought in the major peanut producing regions. The purpose of this project is to conduct farm systems research to reduce the per unit cost of production, improve peanut quality, conserve natural resources, and offer new production and management techniques that will sustain peanuts and crops grown in rotation with peanuts. The first objective will focus on irrigation water requirements for peanuts (and cotton and corn which are the prevailing crops grown in peanut based rotation systems) using shallow subsurface drip irrigation and overhead sprinkler systems. Improved management practices for scheduling irrigation (in unconstrained and constrained water supplies) and new subsurface drip irrigation systems will be addressed. The second objective will examine the agronomic, environmental, and economic feasibility of amending soils with Biochar in a cropping system consisting of peanuts, cotton, and corn in the lower Southeast. Economic evaluations will be performed to determine the economic value of adding biochar as a carbon credit. The third objective will determine if improvements in peanut maturity will lead to improvements in flavor and shelf life of roasted and processed peanut products. This will be accomplished with applications of various chemicals to reduce flowering at specific growth period. This research will also address the agronomic and economic impact of methods to improve peanut maturity profiles within the peanut production and processing system including farmers, shellers (first processors), and manufacturers.