The Peanut Innovation Lab bookended the annual Georgia Peanut Tour, the third week in September, with two more days of activities this year, giving two international groups an even deeper dive into peanut production in the state.
Researchers in North Carolina have updated a risk assessment tool that empowers peanut farmers there to decide when a pest, weed or weather condition threatens yield enough to invest in fighting it. Along with updating the Peanut Risk Tool to be more usable in North Carolina, the work will make the resource available to extension specialists in other countries, as well, giving them the same ability to forecast risk and reward in the field.
Peanut researchers from the University of Georgia met with hundreds of peanut scientists from around the world earlier this week to discuss the international impact of peanut research and to recognize top researchers.
Scientists, students and advisors working on Peanut Innovation Lab projects in Uganda met in late May for a launch meeting in Kampala to celebrate the start of work and share questions and insight about the direction of projects.
The Peanut Innovation Lab is working not only to find the diversity in modern peanut, but also to introduce new diversity from the wild species. These efforts are aimed at helping to improve future peanut varieties – which already adapts well to different climates – become even more resilient to disease, pests and extreme weather.
One big key to improving peanut crop quality and market reliability in Malawi is post-harvest equipment. The Peanut Innovation Lab helped match up the people who want to buy peanuts with Frank Nolin, a retired steel equipment manufacturer who spent his career building equipment for the US peanut industry. By making it possible for buyers to sort nuts for size and quality, Nolin’s equipment allows buyers to separate nuts by grade and reward farmers based on quality, as well as separate groundnuts for sale in different markets.
Groundnut producers face challenges in the field, from unpredictable rainfall to acidic soils to a particularly difficult menace, groundnut rosette disease. These types of challenges are the reason that plant breeders systematically create new varieties, targeting the genetic traits that carry resistance or improve yield. A project funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut is equipping plant breeders from across East and Southern Africa with innovative software to make that work quicker and more efficient.
Jessica Marter-Kenyon has joined the Peanut Innovation Lab management team as an advisor on gender-related issues. As a postdoctoral research associate with the innovation lab, Marter-Kenyon holds a joint appointment with the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.