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© 2011 Plant Management Network.
Accepted for publication 2 September 2011. Published 27 October 2011.


Genotype and Approved Fungicide Evaluation for Reducing Leaf Spot Diseases in Organically-Managed Peanut


Dylan Q. Wann, Graduate Research Assistant, and R. Scott Tubbs, Assistant Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793-0748; and Albert K. Culbreath, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793-0748


Corresponding author: Dylan Q. Wann. dylan.wann@ttu.edu


Wann, D. Q., Tubbs, R. S., and Culbreath, A. K. 2011. Genotype and approved fungicide evaluation for reducing leaf spot diseases in organically-managed peanut. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2010-1027-01-RS.


Abstract

Growers interested in organic peanut (Arachis hypogaea) production need information to identify genotypes and acceptable fungicides for control of early and late leaf spot where synthetic pesticide applications are absent. Field trials were conducted in 2008-2010 to evaluate eleven peanut genotypes for leaf spot resistance and yield potential under organic management. CRSP 983 and Georganic demonstrated the greatest resistance to early and late leaf spot (18 to 59% and 34 to 52% defoliation, respectively), but Florida-07, Georgia-06G, and Tifguard produced the largest yields (2454 to 5424 kg/ha, 3758 kg/ha, and 1760 to 4030 kg/ha, respectively). Tifguard exhibited the best combination of stand establishment, disease resistance, and yield potential of all genotypes and would be a strong option for growers pursuing organic production. Florida-07 and Georgia-06G are also formidable options. A secondary objective was to evaluate the efficacy of three approved fungicides for leaf spot control on peanut under organic management. Copper sulfate + Bacillus subtilis reduced leaf spot defoliation compared to the control. Yet, all three fungicides improved yields under heavy leaf spot pressure. Combining high-yielding, disease-resistant cultivars and organically approved fungicides can significantly improve leaf spot management and yield potential of peanut under organic management.


Introduction

The bulk of United States organic peanut production occurs primarily in arid New Mexico and Texas, with Texas alone producing over 72% of the national total in 2008 (10,16). Although the southeastern USA accounts for most of the conventional peanut production in the USA, the region has only marginal organic production. Severe problems with diseases and weeds are common throughout the warm, humid region. Early and late leaf spot diseases (Cercospora arachidicola and Cercosporidium personatum, respectively) are serious limiting factors to production and typically require multiple applications of fungicides in conventional production systems. Without adequate control, defoliation from leaf spot diseases can result in up to 50% yield loss at harvest (14,19).

The number of acceptable agrichemicals for use in certified organic cropping systems is very limited. Therefore, the use of disease-resistant or tolerant cultivars can be critical for managing diseases in organic systems (15,21) and has been a crucial component for disease management in conventional peanut production for years (6,23). Previous research with integration of organically-acceptable fungicides, with partially-resistant cultivars, has shown potential for reducing leaf spot incidence and improving pod yield. Cantonwine et al. (7) reported that copper sulfate, copper sulfate + Bacillus subtilis, copper sulfate + sulfur, sulfur, cupric hydroxide, and cupric hydroxide + B. subtilis applications significantly reduced defoliation from leaf spot diseases compared to the unsprayed control. However, only copper sulfate and cupric hydroxide improved pod yields over the control. Shew et al. (18) also reported that copper sulfate applications significantly reduced leaf spot incidence compared to the unsprayed control, but did not improve final pod yield.

There is a distinct need for information regarding cultivar options with strong disease resistance and high yield potential for conventional and organic peanut growers alike. However, little information has been published on cultivar options for use in organic production. Desirable characteristics for cultivars include resistance to foliar diseases, good germination and seedling vigor, and high yield and grade potential. Branch and Culbreath (5) identified Georgia-01R and Georgia-05E as multiple-pest-resistant cultivars that produced substantial yields without fungicide or insecticide inputs. However, both of these cultivars are no longer commercially available. A number of disease-resistant cultivars have been released more recently that could have significant potential for improving organic peanut production (3,9,11,12). These new cultivars, along with timely applications of organically approved fungicides, may have potential to improve management of leaf spot diseases for organic (and conventional) peanut growers. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate leaf spot resistance and productivity of several peanut genotypes with current and future commercial relevance grown under organic management. A secondary objective was to supplement previous research regarding organically approved fungicides by evaluating three formulations for control of early and late leaf spot diseases in organic peanut.


Experiment Design and Management

Field trials were conducted on a Tifton loamy sand at the University of Georgia (UGA) Horticulture Hill Farm in 2008 and Lang-Rigdon Farm in 2009 and 2010 near Tifton, GA. Five peanut genotypes were initially planted in 2008 on land that was in transition to certified-organic, to evaluate leaf spot resistance and yield potential under organic management. In 2009 and 2010, the previous genotypes (excluding CRSP 38) plus five others (nine each year) were planted on non-certified land, but managed according to USDA-certified organic rules as if it was the first year of organic transition. Each genotype was evaluated for stand establishment and grade potential, in addition to leaf spot resistance and pod yield. Genotypes planted over the three years of this experiment are listed in Table 1.


Table 1. Market type and years planted of eleven peanut genotypes
evaluated under organic management in Tifton, GA, 2008-2010.

Cultivar Market
type
Years Planted
2008 2009 2010
C724-19-25 Runner   * *
CRSP 38 Runner *    
CRSP 983 Runner   * *
Florida-07 Runner * * *
Florida Fancy Virginia * * *
Georganic Runner * * *
Georgia-03L Runner   *  
Georgia-06G Runner     *
Georgia-08V Virginia   * *
McCloud Runner * * *
Tifguard Runner   * *

All plots were planted with untreated seed on 12 June 2008, 6 June 2009, and 27 May 2010 at a depth of 6 cm, a seeding rate of 20 seed/m, and a standard row spacing of 91 cm. Plots were arranged in a randomized complete block design with five replications in 2008 and four replications in 2009 and 2010. Plot widths in 2008 were 1.8 m (2 rows) and plot lengths ranged from 36 m to 57 m, due to the triangular shape of the field. Plot lengths were therefore grouped by replication (Rep 1 = 57 m; Rep 2 = 54 m; Rep 3 = 48 m; Rep 4 = 45 m; and Rep 5 = 36 m). Plot dimensions in 2009 and 2010 were 7.3 m wide (8 rows) × 9.1 m long, although the harvested area comprised only the center four peanut rows (3.7 m × 9.1 m). The harvested area of all Florida-07 (9) plots in 2009 and 2010 was two rows (1.8 m × 9.1 m) of each respective plot with equivalent management. These sections comprised the non-sprayed control sub-plots of a fungicide evaluation that was super-imposed over the Florida-07 plots (see Organically Approved Fungicide Evaluation below).

Production practices included conventional deep tillage with a moldboard plow to a depth of 30 to 35 cm prior to planting and irrigation as needed during the season, according to UGA recommendations for peanut (1). Gypsum applications of 1120 kg/ha (8 July 2008), 1344 kg/ha (30 July 2009), and 1120 kg/ha (4 August 2010) were made to all plots to meet calcium requirements for pod-filling. No herbicides, fungicides (including seed treatments), or insecticides were applied at any point during the season in order to follow approved USDA-certified organic production practices and to solely evaluate genetic differences among genotypes. Weed control in 2008 was maintained through a combination of two tine cultivations [5 days after planting (DAP) and 12 DAP], two flat sweep cultivations (33 DAP and 40 DAP), and hand-weeding as needed. Weed control in 2009 and 2010 was maintained through a combination of weekly tine cultivations [for the first 5 weeks after planting (WAP)], one flat sweep cultivation (3 WAP), and one mid-season hand-weeding (53 DAP in 2009 and 56 DAP in 2010).

Due to extremely poor plant stands, all CRSP 38 and Florida Fancy plots were severely overrun by weeds in 2008 and subsequently abandoned. Therefore, leaf spot and yield data were collected only from the Florida-07, Georganic (11), and McCloud (20) plots in 2008. Additionally, Georgia-03L (2) was unavailable for the final year of the trial, so it was replaced with Georgia-06G (3), which has widespread commercial acreage and high yield potential.

Peanut maturity was determined each year using the standard hull scrape method (22). Therefore, all plots in 2008, except for Georganic (which has the longest maturity range of the genotypes used in this experiment), were inverted on 31 October using a 2-row KMC digger-shaker-inverter (Kelley Manufacturing Co., Tifton, GA) and harvested 6 November using a 2-row Lilliston small plot peanut combine. All Georganic plots were inverted on 7 November and harvested 20 November. In 2009, all plots were inverted on 28 October and harvested 5 November, since consistently cool weather ceased development of all genotypes, including Georganic. In 2010, temperatures were significantly warmer throughout the fall, allowing for continued development of Georganic beyond the other genotypes. All plots except Georganic were inverted 15 October and harvested 19 October and Georganic plots were inverted 30 October and harvested 8 November.

Statistical analyses were conducted using PROC GLIMMIX in SAS 9.2 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Data were analyzed by analysis of variance and differences among least square means were determined using multiple pairwise t-tests (P ≤ 0.05). There were significant Year × Genotype interactions (P ≤ 0.05) for each data point analyzed, so the data were separated by year and subsequently analyzed. Linear regression analyses were conducted using PROC REG in SAS 9.2, comparing percent defoliation and final plant stand with pod yield to determine which variable displayed a greater impact on yield. Correlation significance (P ≤ 0.05), coefficient of determination (R²), and the linear model equation data were determined and are reported in Table 2.


Table 2. Linear regression analysis results comparing percent defoliation and final plant stand to pod yield of eleven peanut genotypes under organic management in Tifton, GA in 2008-2010.

Variable P > F Equation
Percent defoliation   0.7616 0.001 y = −27x + 2329
Final plant stand < 0.0001 0.384 y = 208x + 392

Genotype Performance Evaluation

Leaf spot incidence and severity. Late-season evaluations for combined early and late leaf spot severity were made on 22 October 2008, 16 October 2009, and 11 October 2010, using visual estimates for percent defoliation. Differences in late-season leaf spot incidence were strong among genotypes all three years (P ≤ 0.05). Additionally, early and late leaf spot pressure was more severe at the 2009 test site (Table 3) than at the 2008 or 2010 sites (Tables 4 and 5). Georganic exhibited the least defoliation from leaf spot in 2008, while Florida-07 and McCloud exhibited the greatest defoliation. In 2009, Georganic and CRSP 983 displayed the lowest amount of defoliation from leaf spot, followed by Georgia-03L. Florida-07 and McCloud again exhibited the greatest incidence with nearly complete defoliation by harvest. In 2010, C724-19-25 (13) and CRSP 983 exhibited the lowest incidence of leaf spot, but were not significantly different from Georganic. Georgia-08V (4) had the highest incidence of leaf spot with near complete defoliation at harvest. These results were mostly consistent with the point values associated with the Peanut Disease Risk Index leaf spot incidence values for the respective genotypes (8). Higher point values on the Risk Index indicate a greater risk of disease incidence, depending on genotype selection and management choices. The leaf spot results of this experiment are also consistent with Branch and Culbreath (5), regarding the distribution of leaf spot resistance among Georganic, Georgia-03L, and Florida-07.


Table 3. Leaf spot defoliation, final plant stand, yield, and grade of nine peanut genotypes under organic management in Tifton, GA, in 2009.

Cultivar Leaf spot
 defoliation
x
(%)
Final
plant stand
(no. plants/m)
Yield
(kg/ha)
Grade
(%TSMKy)
C724-19-25 95 a 10.2 a  1602 bc      72 abc
CRSP 983 59 c  1.6 d  546 f      67 f
Florida-07 98 a  7.2 b 2454 a      70 c-f
Florida Fancy 91 a  4.6 c 1048 e      68 ef
Georganic 52 c 10.8 a 1757 b      71 b-e
Georgia-03L 77 b  7.9 b  1399 cd      69 def
Georgia-08V   89 ab  6.3 b  957 e      71 bcd
McCloud 96 a  6.4 b  1198 de      74 a
Tifguard   90 ab 10.5 a 1760 b      73 ab
LSDz 13 1.6 292 2.7

Means within a column followed by the same lowercase letter are not significantly different according to multiple pairwise t-tests at P = 0.05.

 x Values are based on visual estimates of percent defoliation from early and late leaf spot diseases.

 y Total sound mature kernels.

 z Least significant difference.


Table 4. Leaf spot defoliation and yield of five peanut genotypes
under organic management in Tifton, GA, in 2008.

Cultivar Leaf spot
  defoliationx (%)
Yield
(kg/ha)
CRSP 38y
Florida-07 65 a 5424 a
Florida Fancyy
Georganic 46 b 3839 b
McCloud 71 a 3297 b
LSDz 15 825

Means within a column followed by the same lowercase letter
are not significantly different according to multiple pairwise
t-tests at P = 0.05.

 x Values are based on visual estimates of percent defoliation
from early and late leaf spot diseases.

 y Genotypes CRSP-983 and Florida Fancy were abandoned due
to poor stand establishment.

 z Least significant difference.


Table 5. Leaf spot defoliation, final plant stand, yield, and grade of nine peanut genotypes under organic management in Tifton, GA in 2010.

Cultivar Leaf spot
 defoliationx
(%)
Final
plant stand

(no. plants/m)
Yield
(kg/ha)
Grade
(%TSMKy)
C724-19-25         24 e         6.9 de      2699 cd 72 a
CRSP 983         18 e         6.2 e      1847 e 71 a
Florida-07         88 ab         9.0 c      3424 abc 72 a
Florida Fancy         77 b         8.5 cd      2910 bcd 72 a
Georganic         34 de         9.3 c      2171 de 71 a
Georgia-06G         82 ab       12.4 ab      3758 ab 71 a
Georgia-08V         99 a       12.1 b      2554 de 72 a
McCloud         49 cd         6.6 e      2332 de 68 a
Tifguard         56 c       13.8 a      4030 a 69 a
LSDz 20 1.6 827 4

Means within a column followed by the same lowercase letter are not significantly different according to multiple pairwise t-tests at P = 0.05.

 x Values are based on visual estimates of percent defoliation from early and late leaf spot diseases.

 y Total sound mature kernels.

 z Least significant difference.


Stand establishment. Final plant stand counts were conducted on all plots prior to harvest after inversion, covering approximately 20 m of row. Plant stands among all genotypes were lower in 2009 (Table 3) than in 2010 (Table 5), which was likely due to multiple factors including inoculum level of soilborne diseases in respective field sites; growing conditions in the previous year when source seed was produced; and soil temperature, moisture, and other edaphic factors and conditions. In 2009, C724-19-25, Georganic, and Tifguard (12) generated the greatest plant stands. In 2010, Tifguard had the densest stands, followed closely by Georgia-06G and Georgia-08V. CRSP 983, however, consistently had the lowest plant stands over the entire growing season each year, indicating that the genotype may have poor seed quality or could be very susceptible to soilborne pathogens (such as Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp., and/or Rhizopus spp.) that inhibit adequate germination and stand establishment (17).

In the absence of a commercial seed treatment, the effects of soilborne disease are much more dramatic on germination and stand establishment and mere genetic differences can be more pronounced. When significant gaps exist in the peanut rows, weeds have the opportunity to quickly fill the bare space. Therefore, adequate stand establishment is crucial in organic peanut systems for ensuring the ability of the crop to effectively compete with weeds and diseases and to increase the overall productivity of the system. The slow initial stand establishment characteristic of Georganic (data not shown) could be potentially problematic in this respect. Good plant stands (10+ plants/m of row) also significantly reduce the incidence of tomato spotted wilt (Tospovirus), a devastating viral pathogen in peanut. A greater plant stand reduces the total percentage of plants infected with TSWV in relation to the whole, thus allowing healthy plants to compensate for the reduced growth of the infected plants (8). Of all genotypes in both years of this experiment, Tifguard displayed the most consistent and notable stand establishment and retained good stands throughout the growing season.

Yield and grade. Pod yields for each genotype were adjusted to 7% moisture. As previously mentioned, all CRSP 38 and Florida Fancy plots were abandoned in 2008 as a result of poor plant stands. Mean yields in 2009 and 2010 were relatively low compared to conventional peanut yields (the 2010 state yield average for Georgia was 3987 kg/ha) (Tables 3 and 5). This is to be expected given no chemical inputs were applied all season each year. Florida-07 produced the greatest yields in 2008 (Table 4) and 2009, despite heavy defoliation from leaf spot. In 2010, Tifguard, Georgia-06G, and Florida-07 produced the highest yields. Tifguard, however, exhibited high yield potential and moderate leaf spot resistance, whereas both Florida-07 and Georgia-06G displayed relatively poor leaf spot resistance but overcame by producing substantial pod yields. Conversely, CRSP 983 produced among the lowest yields in 2009 and 2010, in spite of exhibiting consistently exceptional leaf spot resistance. This was likely due to the poor stands generated by the genotype in both years. The regression analysis results show that plant stand is positively correlated with yield, although the correlation was not strong in this experiment (Table 2). Percent defoliation from leaf spot diseases, however, was not significantly correlated with yield (Table 2). This indicates that plant stand has a much greater impact on yield than leaf spot damage, which further emphasizes the importance of sufficient plant stand establishment for successful production in an organic peanut system.

Grade data were only collected in 2009 and 2010 (Tables 3 and 5). Differences among genotypes were significant in 2009 (P ≤ 0.05), but not in 2010. McCloud, C724-19-25, and Tifguard all received the highest grades in 2009. Florida-07, Georgia-03L, Florida Fancy, and CRSP 983, however, all graded poorly. The grade score of a peanut crop, expressed as percent total sound mature kernels (%TSMK) indicates the level of quality of a peanut crop and how much of the crop is saleable at the highest price. Grade is a very important consideration for genotype selection and can directly impact a grower’s profit potential for the shelled market. Because McCloud graded the highest in 2009, there might be some potential for a grower to recoup his/her yield losses with a high %TSMK. Conversely, Florida-07 produced the greatest yield in 2009, but was among the poorest-grading genotypes, thus reducing the profit potential generated by high yields. Tifguard produced one of the highest yields with the second-highest %TSMK in 2009, representing the most ideal combination of yield and grade potential among all genotypes tested. In 2010, Tifguard produced the highest yield, but a slightly lower grade would result in lower net returns than an equally high yielding genotype with a better grade.


Organically Approved Fungicide Evaluation

All Florida-07 plots in 2008 and 2009 were sub-divided into four equal-length sections to accommodate three fungicide treatments and a non-sprayed control. This genotype is susceptible to both early and late leaf spot diseases. Because the plots were replicated five times in 2008 and four times in 2009, each fungicide treatment was subsequently replicated five and four times, respectively. As previously mentioned, data from the non-sprayed control sub-plots were used for the genotype comparison in the previous section.

Fungicide treatments consisted of OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved products including copper sulfate (Triangle Brand 99% Copper Sulfate, Phelps Dodge, El Paso, TX) (2.2 kg/ha), B. subtilis (Serenade, Agraquest Inc., Davis, CA) (2.8 kg/ha), copper sulfate (2.2 kg/ha) + B. subtilis (2.8 kg/ha), and a non-sprayed control. Foliar applications of each fungicide were hand-applied in 115 liters of water per ha at 345 kPa of pressure, using a pressurized backpack sprayer (Model T, Bellspray Inc., Opelousas, LA). Applications were made at 58 and 86 DAP in 2008 and at 90 DAP, 116 DAP, and 131 DAP in 2009, based on timing and severity of leaf spot epidemics. Late-season evaluations for combined early and late leaf spot severity were made prior to peanut inversion on 22 October 2008 and 16 October 2009, using visual estimates for percent defoliation.

Leaf spot incidence and severity. There was a significant Year × Fungicide treatment interaction for percent defoliation and yield data in 2008 and 2009 (P ≤ 0.05). Therefore, the data were separated by year and subsequently analyzed. Leaf spot severity was greater in 2009 than 2008 (Table 6), although late leaf spot epidemics were more prevalent than early leaf spot in 2009 and required later fungicide applications. There were no significant differences in defoliation among fungicide treatments in 2008. In 2009, copper sulfate + B. subtilis significantly reduced defoliation from leaf spot compared to all other fungicide treatments, including the unsprayed control. Copper sulfate and B. subtilis alone did not reduce defoliation compared to the control. The difference in fungicide efficacy between 2008 and 2009 is likely due to the varied leaf spot pressure between the two years. These results indicate that copper sulfate + B. subtilis can provide significant reductions in the incidence and severity of early and late leaf spot when pressure is heavy. However, it appears that copper sulfate + B. subtilis is unable to provide further leaf spot reductions when pressure is not as heavy. The effects of copper sulfate + B. subtilis on defoliation from leaf spot in this experiment were relatively consistent with results by Cantonwine et al. (7). However, the effects of copper sulfate alone were not consistent with Cantonwine et al. (7), likely due to the later, less-frequent fungicide applications made in this experiment.


Table 6. Leaf spot defoliation and yield of Florida-07 peanut as a result of four organically approved fungicide treatments under organic management in Tifton, GA, in 2008-2009.

Treatment Leaf spot
  defoliationx (%)
Yield
(kg/ha)
2008 2009 2008 2009
Control 65 a 98 a 5238 a 2454 b
Bacillus subtilis 65 a 92 a 5498 a 3354 a
Copper sulfate 55 a 96 a 5323 a 3218 a
Copper sulfate + B. subtilis 53 a 46 b 4989 a 3386 a
LSDy 25 6 624 421

Means within a column followed by the same lowercase letter are not significantly different according to multiple pairwise t-tests at P = 0.05.

 x Values are based on visual estimates of percent defoliation from early and late leaf spot diseases.

 y Least significant difference.


Yield. Similar to the percent defoliation data, there were no significant differences in pod yield among fungicide treatments in 2008 (Table 6). This was again likely due to the lighter leaf spot pressure in 2008. All fungicide formulations significantly improved yield compared to the control in 2009, however yields were not different among the foliar-applied treatments. This was notable because the copper sulfate only and B. subtilis only treatment plots were almost completely defoliated by the end of the growing season. These results also correlate with the results for Florida-07, reported in the genotype comparison experiment above, in that the genotype exhibited excellent pod retention in spite of significant defoliation from early and late leaf spot diseases. Similar to the results for defoliation in this experiment, it appears that the three fungicide formulations examined in this experiment all have significant potential for improving yields in sites with heavier baseline leaf spot disease pressure, though the same effects are not apparent in areas of lower pressure.


Summary and Implications for Growers

A number of runner and Virginia cultivar options are available for peanut production in the southeastern USA. However, the results of this experiment suggest that various genotypes used in conventional peanut production can perform differently under organic management, in the absence of commercial pesticides or seed treatments. Tifguard displayed quick germination and a rapid vegetative growth habit, establishing dense plant stands that persisted throughout the entire growing season. Georgia-06G also displayed strong stand establishment during the one year it was grown. Stand establishment is an important consideration because it directly impacts TSWV incidence and yield potential, and it has implications for long-term weed management in organic cropping systems. Reduced plant populations increase the risk of TSWV incidence and reduce the number of viable plants available to produce pods for harvest, thus directly reducing yield. Dense peanut stands can also aid in suppressing weed populations, given peanut’s prostrate growth habit. This was not apparent within the two-year timeframe of this experiment, but it could have a lasting positive impact for long-term rotations.

CRSP 983 consistently displayed the greatest resistance to early and late leaf spot diseases, but the resistance did not translate to significant yield improvement at the end of the season because of poor stands. Conversely, Florida-07, Georgia-06G, and Tifguard did not display the greatest leaf spot resistance, but all three produced the highest yields and showed marked potential for organic production. This was also apparent for Florida-07 in the fungicide experiment. Tifguard appeared to have the most optimum balance of rapid stand establishment, foliar disease resistance, and overall yield potential. At the time of this writing, Tifguard is also the only peanut cultivar available that has excellent host plant resistance to both TSWV and the peanut root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne arenaria) (12). Therefore, Tifguard is a multiple-pest-resistant cultivar that would be a strong choice for growers pursuing organic production. However, the most widely-planted conventional peanut cultivars in the United States, Georgia-06G and Florida-07, are also compelling options under organic management, due to their ability to overcome adverse conditions and still produce high yields.

B. subtilis, copper sulfate, and copper sulfate + B. subtilis fungicides all have potential for use in organic peanut systems. Although only copper sulfate + B. subtilis reduced defoliation from early and late leaf spot compared to the control, all three formulations displayed potential for significantly improving peanut yields. However, their effectiveness appears to be greater in areas with heavier leaf spot pressure or when they are applied at more frequent intervals earlier in the growing season. It should be noted that repeated applications of copper-based pesticides have the potential to result in copper toxicity and subsequent negative environmental impacts, thus cautious use of this compound is advised. Nevertheless, combined with the high-yielding, disease-resistant genotypes identified in this experiment, organic and conventional peanut growers alike have a variety of important tools available to improve both the management of leaf spot in their cropping systems and the feasibility of organic production as a whole.


Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express thanks to Chad Abbot, Paige Adams, Katie Davis, Mike Heath, Justin Moss, Josh Ott, Corey Thompson, and Will Vance for outstanding technical assistance, Jerry Davis for expertise with statistical analyses, Calcium Products Inc. for their donation of OMRI-approved gypsum, and the Georgia Peanut Commission, National Peanut Board and Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) for partial funding support, all of whom were essential to the success of this research.


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