What is in this article?:
- Budget cuts hit peanut lab research projects, personnel
- Research critical to peanut industry
- As a result of Congress eliminating earmarked funds associated with water-use reduction, the budget at the National Peanut Lab has been cut by approximately 20 percent.
- These reductions have eliminated four scientific positions, including two agronomists, one peanut geneticist and one plant physiologist, in addition to numerous support technicians and student workers.
Research critical to peanut industry
Each of the lab’s research projects is aimed at maintaining and enhancing the viability of the United States peanut industry, says Lamb, who also serves as the advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards Program.
The result of the staff reduction is that several significant industry-supported research efforts will be terminated.
A partial list of the potentially terminated projects related to water use reduction, irrigation and water-use efficiency includes:
• Cultivar development with improved drought and disease tolerance.
• Cultivar development with high oil and folic acid contents.
• Expand genomic resources for drought tolerance in peanuts.
• Identify and clone peanut genes involved in drought protection.
• Screen gene collections for drought resistance.
• Primed acclimation strategies to reduce irrigation requirements in peanuts.
• Improved irrigation scheduling decision support systems.
• Conservation-tillage cropping systems to reduce water requirements.
• Field instrument for non-destructive measurement of water content in plants.
• Physiological responses of peanuts to drought stress.
• Germplasm evaluation for physiological traits suitable for drought stress.
• Plant stress indicators via leaf temperature and CO2-based sensors.
• Optimizing production of peanut biodiesel for on-farm use.
• Water conservation in peanuts, corn and cotton with furrow diking.
• Peanut peg strength and digging loss research.
• Improved, more precise peanut maturity prediction methods.
• Soil and plant responses to rates of BIOCHAR application in peanuts, corn and cotton.
• Valencia and Spanish row spacings in west Texas and New Mexico.
• Improved crop replant decisions.
• Nematicidal properties of oilseed radish on peanut root-knot nematodes.
The reduction in staff also could potentially terminate the following projects at the peanut lab:
• Removal, treatment and planting of peanut embryos to reduce cost of production.
• Handling and processing of peanut biodiesel for on-farm use.
• Milling and seed quality of newly released peanut cultivars.
• Water use efficiency with peanut, corn and cotton with drip irrigation.
• Yield response of cotton, corn and peanut to drip irrigation length and tube diameter.
• Efficacy of pesticide applications through drip irrigation in peanuts, corn and cotton.
• Palmer amaranth control in conservation-tillage cropping systems.
• New technologies for genetic modification of peanuts.
• RNA interference to reduce aflatoxin contamination in peanuts.
• Phytoalexin identification and quantification for peanut breeding program.