The Georgia Peanut Tour attendees learned about the research conducted by University of Georgia Peanut Team members while touring the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia. Albert Culbreath, research plant pathologist at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, focuses his research on leaf spot diseases caused by a couple different fungi and tomato spotted wilt virus on peanuts. According to Culbreath, his research includes a variety of integrated management principles to try to take care of all those diseases as efficiently and economically as possible.
Culbreath coordinates research on resistant varieties and works with multiple breeding programs trying to develop better resistance to the tomato spotted wilt virus and leaf spot diseases. His research focuses on cultural practices and timing of planting that would affect both the leaf spot and the spotted wilt virus.
One of the things he spends a lot of time on especially with control of leaf spot diseases are fungicides. He says farmers are heavily dependent on fungicides for leaf spot control in peanuts. There are severe problems with resistance to about three classes of available fungicides. Through Culbreath’s research, he looks at different mixtures, timing, alterations and such that will give farmers the best performance of the fungicides that they have to use. That’s one of Culbreath’s main objectives for his work at the Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center in Plains, Georgia. He found a couple years ago that adding sulfur to several of the triazole fungicides that we depended upon and then last year adding sulfur to the Strobilurins fungicides greatly improves the efficiency with them even though we have resistance to those classes of fungicides.
Sulfur is a relatively safe and inexpensive addition and he has seen dramatic improvements in leaf spot control with that. So, in his tests in Plains this year, he is looking at different formulations of sulfur in combination with different fungicides that alone we don’t expect them to do that well. Through his research, he will see if adding sulfur to the fungicides helps to improve the control that we get from those fungicides.