In recent years, Hassan Melouk and Kelly Chamberlin, USDA-ARS peanut breeders in Stillwater, Oklahoma, have tested the variety extensively in numerous locations and under varied growing conditions across Oklahoma’s peanut producing area.

They evaluated Red River Runner under Sclerotinia infested conditions and made selections based on healthy and Sclerotinia-free plants grown at Fort Cobb. Since 2003, Red River Runner has been evaluated in all peanut growing regions of Oklahoma. Trials have also been carried out across Texas.

Melouk and Chamberlin say Red River Runner yields will compare favorably with Tamrun OL02 and OL07. Two advantages make it stand out, however. Chamberlin said Red River Runner produces superior grades, from three to five points higher than Tamrun OL02 or OL07. “In most trial locations in Oklahoma, Red River Runner returned from $50 to $100 more per acre to farmers compared to other runner varieties,” she said.

Maturity also is an advantage for Oklahoma peanut growers. In trials in West Oklahoma locations Red River Runner was 10 days to two weeks earlier than OL07. Tests have shown little difference in maturity between the new variety and OL07 in Texas trials.

Melouk said the Red River Runner is a high oleic variety as are all new lines in the USDA-ARS breeding program at Stillwater.

He said early testing evaluated both Sclerotinia resistance and drought tolerance. “We did initial screenings in 2003 and seed increase in subsequent years. The variety yielded well but grades were super, four or five points higher than other runner peanuts.

“We accumulated data and found we had enough to support release of Red River Runner,” he said.

Melouk has been working with high oleic breeding lines since the early 1990s when a mutual agreement between Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, USDA, peanut producer boards from each state and private industry developed a fast track approach to developing high oleic peanuts for the Southwest.

Red River Runner, one observer said, could revolutionize Southwest Peanut production the way the Florunner release changed the Southeast Peanut industry some 30 years ago.