September 6. Mark it down. That is the date in 2012 of the Peanut Field Day at the Peanut Belt Research Station in Lewiston-Woodville, N.C. One particularly notable aspect this year is that it will be 60th annual event for the field day.
It is remarkable, really. For 60 years growers have been coming to this meeting and for 60 years researchers have been planting field plots and using this occasion to let growers see what they've been up to over the previous year. The growers see the new varieties, the new products, whatever the researchers have been working on – and they get to see what they, themselves, will probably be working with in the future.
This is one day a year when peanut growers get to really pack in the knowledge.
On one hand there is the field day side of the event. On the other, this is the Annual Meeting of the N.C. Peanut Growers Association where growers will get the "heads up" from people like Bob Sutter, chief executive officer of the N.C. Peanut Growers Association who will fill them in on what is going on in the industry, particularly in Washington, D.C. Perhaps one of the speakers will also be able to give them some idea what they might be able to expect for a peanut price in the coming year, too. And there are often industry experts who can speak on topics related to promotion efforts and mill technology improvements.
With glyphosate-resistant weeds in the spotlight in recent years, research on new crop protection chemicals is important. Some of the first indications of resistance to glyphosate by Palmer amaranth were originally announced during this field day.
And, of course, there are the new varieties. Perhaps this is the most important aspect of new technology of all. Growers have the chance to visit and see the recent work of NCSU's Tom Isleib, crop scientist and peanut breeder. Isleib has worked diligently over many years to test the traits of varieties like the early-maturing Bailey, Brantley with its large pods, and Champs, which many would say is the current "champ" among Virginia-type peanuts.
If you grow peanuts, don't miss this one!