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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Weed Control Systems for Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Grown as a Biofuel Feedstock

Authors
item Faircloth, Wilson
item Ferrell, Jason - UNIVERSITY OF FL
item Main, Chris - UNIVERSITY OF TN

Submitted to: Weed Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 14, 2008
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Citation: Faircloth, W.H., Ferrell, J.A., Main, C.L. 2008. Weed Control Systems for Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Grown as a Biofuel Feedstock. Weed Technology. v22:584-590.

Interpretive Summary: The use of peanut as a fuel source has not been explored. However, the peanut contains approximately 50% oil and in many areas of the world has the potential to provide a high-yielding feedstock for biodiesel manufacture. In order to achieve economic sustainability given the high value of peanuts for consumer markets, peanuts grown for biodiesel require a low cost approach to production so that the price per unit of fuel is competitive with petroleum-based fuels. Disease and insect tolerant cultivars will allow inputs to be greatly reduced, however, weed control remains a costly endeavor and poor weed control will limit yield potential. Field trials were conducted in three states to determine economic thresholds for weed control in peanut grown specifically for biodiesel manufacture. Four herbicide prices and 2 application approaches were tested. A peanut oil yield goal of 930 L/ha (100 gallons/acre) was exceeded with multiple low cost herbicide systems in 3 of 4 site-years indicating success can be found in biodiesel style production systems. A herbicide cost of $50/ha ($20/acre) utilizing both preemergence and postemergence applications was consistently among the highest in oil yield, regardless of site year, exceeding the typical (high value) programs in 3 of 4 site years. Data from this series of studies will allow researchers and entrepreneurs to more accurately assess the viability and sustainability of peanut biodiesel.

Technical Abstract: Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) has not been utilized as a true oilseed crop, especially for the production of fuel. However, peanut makes a superior feedstock for biodiesel, especially in on-farm or small cooperative business plans, where producers can dictate the cost of making their own fuel. Field studies were conducted in 2005 and 2006 to assess low-cost weed control systems for peanut that will ensure economic viability of peanut biodiesel. Four pre-selected herbicide costs ranging from $25-$62/ha and two application timings (PRE+POST versus POST only) were tested against non-treated ($0/ha) and typical ($115/ha) herbicide programs for weed control and peanut oil yield. A peanut oil yield goal of 930 L/ha (100 gallons/acre) was exceeded with multiple low cost herbicide systems in 3 of 4 site-years indicating success can be found in biodiesel style production systems. The main effect of application timing was only significant for a single site-year in which oil yield increased linearly with cost of PRE + POST weed control system. A herbicide cost of $50/ha utilizing PRE + POST applications was consistently among the highest in oil yield, regardless of site year, exceeding the typical (high value) programs in 3 of 4 site years. Use of reduced rates of imazapic (0.5X or 0.035 kg/ha) was detrimental in 2 of 4 site years. Weed control and thus oil yields were most dependent on species present at each location, and not an input price. Data from this series of studies will allow researchers and entrepreneurs to more accurately assess the viability and sustainability of peanut biodiesel.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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