Developing high oleic peanut varieties has become the benchmark for Southwest peanut breeders as the industry responds to manufacturers’ demands for products with longer shelf life and improved flavor.
“The industry has indicated more interest in high oleic peanuts for both candy manufacture and for in-shell consumption,” says Kelly Chamberlin, peanut breeder at the USDA-ARS Center for Peanut Improvement in Stillwater, Okla.
“All of Texas AgriLife peanut variety releases now are high oleic,” says peanut breeder Mark Burow, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Lubbock.
Kelly and Burow discussed peanut development recently at the Oklahoma Peanut Expo at the Quartz Mountain Resort near Lone Wolf.
“We will have high oleic varieties in every market type,” Chamberlin says.
She’s releasing a high oleic Virginia-type peanut this year, Venus, which will replace Jupiter in Oklahoma fields and will offer several advantages, including the high oleic characteristic. “Until now, we had no high oleic Virginia peanuts for the Southwest,” she said. “And 45 percent of Oklahoma’s peanut acreage is planted to Virginia peanuts.”
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Venus is a cross between Jupiter and the Red River Runner, where it gets the high oleic characteristics. Venus is also resistant to Sclerotinia and pod rot.
“Farmers will gain from $50 to $150 more per acre with Venus, not counting the bonus they will get for high oleic,” Chamberlin said.
In advanced management variety trials, Venus produced higher grades than Jupiter in a Custer/Blaine County trial from 2012 through 2014 and higher than Gregory in Beckham County in that same period.
“Numerically, Venus would average $50 to $74 more per acre than Jupiter in Beckham and Custer/Blaine Counties, without considering pest management input costs.”
In disease trials, Venus averaged 17.8 percent incidence of Sclerotinia blight, 61 percent less than Jupiter. “This enhanced Sclerotinia blight resistance will save producers at least $100 per acre in fungicide applications,” she said.
Venus also shows a significant advantage with pod rot resistance, 16.8 percent infection rate compared to 55 percent for Jupiter, which also “will translate into additional profit for producers by reducing penalties paid at buying points.”
Chamberlin said Venus produces an average of 90 percent fancy pods and 55 percent extra large kernels (ELK).
“Particularly important for farmers in Oklahoma and Texas, release (of Venus) will increase Virginia-type acres and make Southwest peanuts competitive in the Virginia peanut market.”
She said farmers who now grow Jupiter will have an option with similar seed quality but enhanced disease resistance.
Texas variety development
Burow reported progress on several high oleic breeding prospects, including three runner varieties, one Spanish and one Valencia.
OL11 is a high oleic runner with a goal of shellout equal to or better than Flavorunner 458 and resistance to Sclerotinia. That project is led by Michael Baring and seed is expected to be commercially available this year.
Seed for Webb, a high oleic runner variety with resistance to root-knot nematode and Sclerotinia, also should be commercially available this year. Burow said Webb is derived from a wild species cross and is under long-time breeder Charles Simpson
Seed increase is continuing for OL12, a runner peanut with improved edible seed quality. It will mature two weeks earlier than Flavorunner or Tamrun OL02. Burow is the lead for OL12.
Schubert is a new Spanish type that matures earlier than OLin. Burow is lead on this variety and says key characteristics include early maturity, improved yield and grade, Sclerotinia resistance and high oleic.
TamVal OL14 is a high oleic Valencia peanut with some tolerance to Sclerotinia and improved yield compared to New Mexico Valencia C. Burow also leads this project. Seed increase “is continuing,” he added.
“We are committed to having high oleic varieties available in all four market classes,” Burow said.