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Weed-Control Systems for Peanut Grown as a Biofuel Feedstock

  • Wilson H. Faircloth (a1), Jason A. Ferrell (a2) and Christopher L. Main (a3)


Peanuts are not often used as a true oilseed crop, especially for the production of fuel. However, peanut could be a feedstock for biodiesel, especially in on-farm or small cooperative businesses, 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 peanuts that would facilitate the economic viability of peanut biodiesel. Four preselected herbicide costs ranging from $25 to $62/ha and two application timings were compared with nontreated ($0/ha) and typical ($115/ha) herbicide programs for weed control and peanut oil yield. A peanut oil yield goal of 930 L/ha was exceeded with multiple low-cost herbicide systems in 3 of 4 site–yr. The main effect of application timing was only significant for a single site–year in which oil yield increased linearly with cost of the PRE and POST weed-control system. An herbicide cost of $50/ha, using PRE and 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–yr. Use of reduced rates of imazapic (0.5× or 0.035 kg ai/ha) was detrimental in 2 of 4 site–yr. Weed control, and thus oil yields, were most dependent on species present at each location and not on input price. Data from this series of studies will allow researchers and entrepreneurs to more accurately assess the viability and sustainability of peanut biodiesel.


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