New Farming Wrinkle May Help Peanut Growers

Jan 15, 2010 By Sharon Durham
New Farming Wrinkle May Help Peanut Growers
A combination of conservation tillage and deficit irrigation management can save peanut farmers water without cutting yields, according to new ARS research. Photo courtesy of Kathy Gray, ARS.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using a combination of conservation tillage and deficit irrigation management in peanut production can promote conservation of water during the early growing season without hurting yields, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist reports.

That's good news for peanut farmers in the Southern High Plains, where water is often in short supply, particularly in areas where residential development has increased demands for water. Irrigation also adds to the cost of production for growers.

Deficit irrigation, or forced drought, early in the growing season appears to result in quicker maturation while maintaining yields, according to ARS agronomist Wilson Faircloth at the National Peanut Research Laboratory (NPRL) in Dawson, Ga., and plant physiologist Diane Rowland, formerly with NPRL and now with Texas A&M University. They conducted a five-year field trial in West Texas to determine the effects of deficit irrigation. More recently, they've also studied how conservation tillage can help boost peanut production.

Results indicate that induced early-season drought may serve to acclimate the crop to drought stress that commonly occurs during late-season growth, according to Faircloth. It is also during this latter part of the growing season that growers typically experience water deficits due to reduced pumping capacity, thus increasing the risk of yield reductions.

Faircloth and Rowland also investigated the use of conservation tillage with a cover crop to mitigate drought. They applied varying amounts of water to peanut and cotton planted in either conservation or conventional tillage. They found that, under conditions, conservation tillage increased peanut yields when compared to conventional tillage. The yield increase was attributed to increased water-holding capacity of the soil under conservation tillage, and changes in peanut rooting patterns.

Additionally, the combination of conservation tillage and deficit irrigation could greatly reduce requirements for peanut and cotton.

Read more about this and related research to improve peanut production in the January 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Explore further: Ideology prevents wheat growers from converting to more profitable methods, new study shows

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tillage, rotation impacts peanut crops

Nov 10, 2008

The increasing popularity of reduced tillage on crops has not only been an important development in combating soil erosion, but it has also been associated with increasing organic material and producing high crop yields.

Nitrogen applied

Oct 01, 2008

Combating soil erosion is a primary concern for agricultural producers in the United States, and many have incorporated conservation tillage systems in their effort to maintain a profitable crop output.

Crop models help increase yield per unit of water used

May 04, 2009

Crop water use efficiency (WUE, or yield per unit of water used), also known as crop water productivity, can be improved through irrigation management and methods, including deficit irrigation (irrigating less than is required ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Shootist
not rated yet Jan 15, 2010
Admiring the tiny photograph: Now those are some Goober Peas!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.