“We had field days at both locations last year,” Howell says, “with excellent attendance; those who participated represented 67 percent of the state’s total acreage. End of season surveys indicated an average $20 per acre benefit to growers — almost a quarter-million dollars in value from attending those field days. One grower said information he received saved him $40,000 in fungicide costs during the season.

“We had several specialty tours for various groups, and individual growers could come by at any time to see what was going on with our research programs, which included trials for variety, planting date, fungicide efficacy, tillage, fertility, insect control, fungicide timing, rainfall simulation (in cooperation with USDA and the National Peanut Laboratory), and row pattern.”

Variety trials were conducted at Lucedale, Hamilton, and Stoneville, with two planting dates — late April/early May, and late May.

Seven varieties were in the trials: Georgia Green, which is on its way out; Georgia O6G; Georgia O9B, a new variety that’s going to be released this year; Georgia Greener, Georgia O7W, Florida 07, and AT 215. (AT 215 and Georgia O9B were not planted in the early planted trials, and the early planted trial at Hamilton was rained out.)

In the early variety trial at Lucedale, Howell says, Georgia 06G, with a 4,896 pounds per acre yield, and Georgia Greener, 4,840 pounds, came out on top. At Stoneville, results were much the same, with Georgia 06G and Georgia Greener at the top. Averaging the trials, those two varieties showed a significant yield advantage over others in the test, with Georgia Greener at 5,015 pounds and Georgia 06G at 4,961 pounds.