Our Focus for Peanut Breeding: Although the Southeastern United States has more peanut production and exportation than any other region in the country, most organic peanut production occurs in New Mexico and west Texas. Southeastern organic growers would like to add this crop to their rotation, but seedling diseases have presented a seemingly insurmountable problem. Effective and cheap fungicidal seed treatments for conventional production has discouraged peanut breeders from selecting for seedling disease resistance. A preliminary study of advanced lines in the NCSU Peanut Breeding Program suggests significant genetic variation is present and resistance should be possible. Needs Identified By Farmers:
- Disease. Conventional peanut breeders have not bred for seedling disease resistance because chemical seed treatments are cheap and effective.
- Dr. Tom Isleib, peanut breeder at NCSU, is working to develop screening protocols for resistance to the seedling disease fungal pathogens.