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Peanut Research
Overview:

Brabant Research set about to investigate a number of areas pertaining to impact on yield in peanuts. These areas included, but were not limited to;

1. Explore variety relevance on impact from;
          * TSWV
          * Fungal and bacterial impact
          * Soil salinity
          * Yield potential

2. Investigate fertility (fertilizer) programs, (in some cases no fertilizer or residue fertilizer type programs) on the above

3. Determine soil preparation and cover crop’s relevance to multiple crop impacts as outlined in # 1. above

4. Utilize new, aggressive type chemical and biological disease controls.

Results:

Initially, this project was to be a one year comparison type project. After reviewing the results from both plant and crop (the peanut seed) analysis as well as the yield data, it was decided that before going public with the results from the 1997 projects, Brabant would duplicate the 1997 projects again in 1998. The accumulated analysis data showed, as expected, a wide range of disparity from one grower to another. The elemental analysis of the peanut itself was also extremely variable.

The most difficult aspect of gathering peanuts for elemental analysis was keeping soil contamination from influencing the testing. Scrubbing and washing the sample while still in the shell reduced, but did not eliminate, contamination. This problem, elemental analysis of the peanut, was not the reason for running a second year of projects. While we did not feel comfortable with the elemental analysis work, (both years), we did feel that the protein, (amino acid profile), carbohydrate and fat analysis’ were unflawed. It is within that data that we discovered impact to the peanuts from the grower’s program that is critical to the peanut industry.


Amino acid

Grnd-TX

ABND

Do gk

Gora

Tryptophan

0.22

0.23

0.23

0.23

Aspartic acid

2.72

2.61

3.12

3

Threonine

0.61

0.59

0.71

0.69

Serine

1.19

1.15

1.37

1.31

Glutamic acid

4.2

4.05

6.04

5.82

Proline

0.95

0.92

1.08

1.03

Glycine

1.43

1.37

1.59

1.54

Alanine

0.88

0.85

1.01

0.98

Cystine

0.24

0.25

0.34

0.26

Valine

0.8

0.77

0.94

0.9

Methionine

0.22

0.23

0.31

0.24

Isoleucine

0.7 

0.68

0.75

0.73

Leucine

1.44

1.38

1.62

1.56

Tyrosine

0.73

0.69

0.76

0.77

Phenylalanine

1.1

1.06

1.27

1.25

Histidine

0.48

0.47

0.58

0.57

Lysine total

0.85

0.83

0.93

0.91

Arginine

2.58

2.45

2.81

2.71

Crude Fat, 16 hr Soxhlet

39.8

42.1

47.1

48.6

Protein, Kjeldahl

22.39

20.95

24.81

23.64

Carbohydrates, total

14.8

16.4

20.3

18.2

Calories from total fat

358.2

378.9

Calories, total calc.

506.8

528.2

         

These are side by side comparisons of the 1997 peanut projects. The Grnd-TX versus the ABND and the Do gk versus Gora. There is an interesting trend here that continued into the 1998 projects. In addition to significant yield differences, (627 lbs more in the Brabant Program Grnd-TX vs. grower’s ABND & 900 lbs more in the Brabant Program Do gk vs. grower’s Gora), there were quality differences that Brabant feels could be presented to consumer groups who continue to voice concern that peanuts are a fatty, non-healthy foodstuff.

The trend in the Brabant Programs has been towards increasing peanut protein content at the same time lowering both crude fat and calories/carbohydrates. While the percentage of change, roughly 5%, is scientifically significant (though not an overwhelming figure), we believe, as it was basically the same throughout both ‘97 and ‘98, that the growing program has a direct impact on the protein to fat ratio and can be further manipulated. Extractable proteins should also be manageable as well as introduced for synthesis (artificially introduced) for production of both commercial and human protein compounds. Therefore, the possibility exists that transgenic manipulation can be augmented by the growing program, currently assumed only manipulable by breeding. This would then lend peanuts to the list of crops for transgenic work, a further boon to the peanut grower.


Another interesting outcome from these projects was the reduction in TSWV within the treatments. Brabant has investigated the role thatHydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins (HRGP’s), usually found in small amounts in the cell wall of higher plants, has on virus impact. Amounts of HRGP’s increase in the cell when impacted by various pathogens. 30 % of HRGP is composed of proteins, the remaining composed of polysaccharide. The polysaccharide moiety is composed mostly of arabinose and 40% of the proteins are Hydroxyproline. HRGP’s molecule structure is linear and rich in basic amino acids, imparting two significant properties;
     
1. as it is linear it may function as a structural polymer and strengthen the cell wall,
2. the high level of basic amino acids confers the properties of a poly-cation and it may agglutinate negatively charged particles or cells of pathogens.

The unfolded TSWV may be agglutinated by the HRGPs and deactivated. The consensus in discussing this hypothesis here at Brabant is that the increase in the measurable Proline found in the Brabant Programs may correlate to the decrease in TSWV incidence. That may mean that with no more than a fertility program the plant, well known to show some resistance to infection by TSWV, and it’s own systems can be augmented to fight virus infection. We are unsure, at this time, if that augmentation is conveyed to the seed.

We believe, at this time, that it is important to review some test information and project results as it relates to assertions made by various peanut "experts" to growers and grower periodicals. We believe it is crucial to growers that misinformation be exposed for the negative impact it has had on both grower’s yield and on what actually does impact grower’s yields, both negatively and positively.

Let us examine some of these assertions:
    
Assertion: ...Zinc toxicity, from high zinc fertilizers causes a large amount of peanut damage...

Brabant: In every researched case, where zinc was accused of being the impact culprit, both aluminum and sodium levels (both overlooked in the assertion) were at and above toxic levels. Neither of these two elements were considered in the assertions. In every case where irrigation was utilized from a pond source, the pH of the irrigation water created dramatic plunges in soil pH (especially during low rainfall periods) and accompanied multiple elemental toxicities as well as tissue damage. These impacts resulted in increased disease pressure which, again, was overlooked in the assertions. Aluminum, zinc and sodium toxicity all produce similar plant visual symptoms, including retarded top growth, lightening of tissue color and stubby, sparse root growth.

Assertion: ...residual fertilizers are an excellent source of nutrients for peanuts and additional fertilizer applications only reduce the growers net return per acre...


Brabant: In every researched case, peanut crops followed either corn or cotton crops. In most cases where corn and cotton were the previous crop, because of the large amounts of fertilizer applied to those crops, the use of the cheapest source of nutrients is the normal practice. (we will not attempt to discuss the impact from cheap, poor fertilizers on the cotton or corn here. Look for further discussions pertaining to these crops on our web site shortly .) In most cases, liquid nitrogen was the N source of choice. High levels of sodium are found in mostly all liquid N products. In most cases, murate was the K source of choice. All murate contains almost as much chloride as potassium. Contrary to popular opinion, salts float in soil water solutions, at different levels in the water/soil solution according to their specific gravity. In saturated soil situations (where rain is excessive and often) residual salts, in some soil types from multiple years, continually float to the surface of the soil where they create major damage to the peanut crop including:

*Salt wound damage to the crown of the plant which creates minute lesions that are the entry point of fungal and bacterial disease. Also loss of moisture during periods of high temperature and dry conditions.

*Competition for root bonding sites with calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Sodium and chloride prevent and interfere with the uptake of primary elements important in crop production.

*Changing soil osmotic potential making it more difficult for plants to take in both water and important nutrients.

*Causing the plant to cycle larger amounts of fluids and nutrients in order to eliminate sodium and chloride unnecessary to their metabolic process.


*Creating root lesions that can act as entry point for viruses as well as bacterial and fungal pathogens. Remember, wounded cell membrane causes a difference in electric potential from the uninjured membrane creating charges different from intact membrane. Viruses have charges.


Brabant: More often, the reason extra applied fertilizers in peanuts are ineffectual in consistently increasing yields is both accumulated salts from prior fertilizers interfering with uptake AND the type of fertilizers commonly used are not conductive to peanut uptake and utilization (in some cases they create more damage to the plant than increase yield.) In every one of our programs, where the grower actually followed the program as outlined, the yield increase from treated fields was substantially higher than control areas.

Assertion: ...Strip, minimum, reduced, or no till is an important tool to higher profit per acre...

Brabant: yields from minimum, strip, no and reduced till type systems are consistently lower than yields from conventional tillage when performed in the same field. Factors for lower yield in minimum, strip, no and reduced tillage systems involved include;

        Reduced stand
        Soil compaction
        Weed pressure
        Greater disease inoculum
        Poor fertilizer distribution

Assertion: ...organic matter in peanut soils is a source of disease and should be eliminated...

Brabant: If this is so, then how can these experts be in favor of no, minimum, reduced and strip till practices where soil level crop residue organic matter is 100%?

It is these inconsistencies that confuse the issues and keep growers from the important, non-biased data that should be generated. Some of these important issues are:

1) Peanuts are extremely susceptible to aluminum toxicity which can be caused by low soil pH. Remember, gypsum or landplaster (calcium sulfate) can cause a quick, temporary decrease in soil pH; Al will also decrease the uptake of Ca; Irrigation water quality!! Anyone talking about it to the growers?

2) Ozone damage is increasing in intensity and can be responsible for an estimated 35% of crop damage in selected areas, estimates of 20% have been observed in many areas. Ozone interferes with nitrogen metabolism and damages leaf chloroplast and can produce surface lesions (blisters).  Murate of potash, bulldog soda and most liquid N are salts. Murate is high in chloride, salts float on soil waters back to the top of the soil... this is important !!! Murate after murate after murate is steadily increasing chloride levels in soils which can impact a crop at any given moment. Salt wound damage to crown area and top of root structure, which occurred in plants late in season when irrigation rates increased, increased incidence of fungal impact. Just because a soil analysis says the soil chloride and sodium levels are low does not make it so! Compare the actual numbered amounts with the elements they inhibit and then you can decide whether those amounts are "low".


Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus are prevalent in soils low in organic matter, therefore soil organic material amounts actually impact disease incidence in a positive sense.

The extent to which a virus is able to mutate to produce strains that can cope effectively with changes in the environment may well affect survival and dispersal of the virus ...TSWV & TMV exist as numerous strains. Sometimes a disease may be caused by a mixture of two or more closely related strains of the same virus and enter the plant through wounds formed mechanically or biologically, like damage from insects, mites, nematodes and sometimes fungi.

Most clays have a net negative charge and viruses will sorb to clay soils.

Various research and observation by workers noted a reduction in the number, size, and fresh weight of nitrogen fixing Rhizobium nodules possibly induced by virus infection in legumes. In general, overall nitrogen fixation is reduced by virus infection.

Gossypol acts as a phytoalexin in cotton, a natural disease barrier and because of this, symptoms in cotton can be reduced, ( often completely overlooked ) and incidence of disease pressure in any given field in peanut rotation can be unidentified. This is important.

Related Information:


At this time Brabant would like to announce that any grower, dedicated research, extension, academic or consulting organization that would like to participate in a side by side comparison of their growing programs with the Brabant growing program is invited to contact Richard Lasker, Jr. at Brabant Research for information on project guidelines and eligibility. Results from any and all comparison projects may be made public, both through our web site and in published periodicals as outlined in the project guidelines, at the discretion of Brabant.

We suggest if you are interested in higher yields of better quality peanuts to contact Brabant. Our work with growers is, of course, always free. In return we expect a dedicated amount of acreage (minimum 15%) to run a full program as outlined, using regular fertilizers, regular pest controls and your regular equipment.
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