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In the past, we have made progress in developing cultivars, with traits including nematode resistance, drought resistance, and high oleic to decrease cost d maximize profits. However, if a new peanut oil market is to be developed there is a critical need for new cultivars that have higher total oil content as well as a rigorous economic analysis to ensure a viable market in the future. The costs to transport, dry, handle and shell peanuts produced for traditional edible uses are very high due to the need to maintain the value of shelled peanuts. Peanuts must remain whole and undamaged which slows processing time and requires additional sorting. We believe these extra steps add substantial costs and inefficiencies and many could be reduced or in some cases eliminated. Peanuts markets devoted solely to crushing for oil and meal coproducts should begin with a blank slate to determine what cost reductions are achievable. The value of traditional edible peanuts is substantially higher than the value of peanuts used strictly for crushing, but with higher oil content the value could be significantly increased. Traditional edible value would most likely still be much higher than the crushing value so the difference will need to be determined, which would be a starting point for where to start eliminating cost from the crushing equation. We could then begin to identify where those cost savings could be potentially obtained. As part of our strategy to address these issues we will build off of previous and ongoing research in breeding and economics to explore the feasibility of the interesting opportunity. Our long-term goal is to develop a new market for US peanut growers centered around high oil content peanuts.As mentioned, from previously completed and ongoing activities by key project personnel include using exotic and cultivated germplasm to develop high oil breeding lines we currently have lines with oil content as high as 62% compared to conventional cultivars which contain 48%. Additionally, we have an experienced team of economists to explore all facets of this new potential market from the farm to the processing plant and to the consumer. We propose to leverage our expertise in these areas to provide the knowledge and resources needed to further enhance the yield and disease resistance of peanuts in a profitable and sustainable manner with the following objectives:1. Develop germplasm with increased oil content that can be grown in a reduced input production scenario. We are currently field testing high oleic content breeding lines that vary for 55-57% oil content. Several of these lines that have been tested under irrigated conditions for 4 years show the potential as commercial cultivars. Furthermore, we also have other early generation materials that are high oleic and have Sclerotinia resistance and are up to 62% oil content. Our intention is to continue developing these lines. Success will be determined by the identification of breeding lines that represent viable release candidates.2. Develop genomic and phenomic tools that can be used by breeding programs and processors to quickly determine oil content. Our program has already identified viable Simple Sequence Repeats (SSR) molecular markers that need to be converted to Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) markers and validated in new germplasm. Additionally, we routinely use Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) for selection of high oleic oil content and nematode resistance. We currently have germplasm in our pipeline to complete this work and are currently working in this area. Additionally, Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a viable tool for quantification of oil content, and we are currently developing an algorithm that will allow bulk selection for oil content at up to 30 seed per second.3. Develop economic models that explore the value chain of a high oil peanut market and the potential areas that must be adjusted to make the new market viable including consumer's willingness to use peanut oil by using a nationally representative survey. Our team is actively involved in modeling and budgeting for production scenarios for renewable energy using peanuts in Texas. We have developed a network of both agricultural and industry partners that give us unique access to the development of economic and environmental models for the establishment of a totally new industry. This will allow both farmers and industry to identify the differences in the value of edible versus oil peanuts and find key choke points that must be addressed to create the new value chain.Tools and data developed in this project will be disseminated through presentation at national and international scientific meetings, as well as at numerous extension programs offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, including both in-person and virtual formats. Furthermore, data will be published in scientific journals associated with the disciplines involved. The plan for these activities is presented in detail in the Dissemination and Outreach Plan section.

Cason, J.; Simpson, CH, E..; Burow, MA, .; Palma, MA, .; Lamb, MA, C.; Ribera, LU, A.; Abello, FR, .; McCutchen, BI, .
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