Beasley recommends that producers “spread the genetics around.”

“We have some really great cultivars, along with Georgia-06G. The percentage of seed increase for Tifguard, Georgia-07W, Florida-07 and Georgia Greener all were about 5 percent each. They were evenly distributed.

Then, rounding it out, were Georgia-09B at 2 percent and Florun ‘107’ at 1 percent. That gives us seven cultivars that are commercially available. There was below 1 percent seed increase in Georgia-10T, and then two newer varieties that will be grown for seed increase only in 2013, including Georgia-12Y and TUFRunner ‘727’.”

All of the seven cultivars that will be commercially available have performed well in variety trials, says Beasley.

“When you look at all the statewide variety trials in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, you could really take any one of those top seven that are commercially available, and you’d have some outstanding cultivars.

“I compare it to a horserace. A lot of people think it’s just a single horse race with a Secretariat way out in front, in the form of Georgia-06G. But that’s not the case. We have seven really good cultivars.

“I’m encouraging our growers in county meetings to look at the cultivar options, look at their traits as far as their disease resistance in the Peanut Rx program, and determine if you have a specific problem in the field, such as white mold.

“You might want to lean more towards one with increased white mold resistance such as Georgia-07W or Florida-07. Try to fit the cultivar to your fields. The maturity of these cultivars are all similar within about one week of one another, with the exception of Georgia-10T and Georgia-12Y, which are late-maturing.”

Four of the varieties are considered large-seeded runner varieties, including Georgia-06G, Georgia-07W, Florida-07 and Tifguard, says Beasley. All others would be more medium seed size, similar to the old Florunner, he adds.

This past year, Beasley and others on the University of Georgia Peanut Team began urging peanut producers to plant earlier, and they appear to be following those recommendations, he says.

“In the past three years, particularly in 2011 and 2012, we’ve seen increases in the percentage of the crop planted in April,” he says.

“We jumped from 5 percent in 2011 to 15 percent in 2012. If you go back and look at the pre-tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) days, there was a stretch when we were planting 20 to 30 percent, and 40-plus percent in some years, in April. That’s our goal today.”

The threat of TSWV forced growers to plant later, explains Beasley. However, today’s improved varieties have greater resistance to the disease, allowing producers the flexibility to plant earlier.

“In our trials from the past three years, we’ve definitely seen a higher yield at the end of April and into the first two weeks of May, and then yields drop as we approach the end of May and into June.