The beloved peanut usually grows in sandy soil where there might not be much moisture. But some varieties of peanut perform better in drought than others.
The beloved peanut usually grows in sandy soil where there might not be much moisture. But some varieties of peanut perform better in drought than others. They use less water when there isn’t much to go around, and remain productive as drought deepens. Crop scientists are trying to find the peanut varieties best at it.
Thomas Sinclair at North Carolina State University and colleagues are studying peanut varieties to find a ‘water conservation’ trait. It would help the plant maintain a high yield during a drought.
“Crop varieties that have a greater yield than others, with less water, are crucial in maintaining or increasing the profits available to growers,” he explains. “This may become especially important if, as predicted by some, climate change results in less rainfall occurring in less frequent events.”
Peanut plants conserve water by having a lower transpiration rate as the soil gets drier. As soil water becomes less available, the plants adjust how much moisture they release, or transpire. By doing this early in the soil drying cycle, the plant conserves water for later as the drought gets worse.
Read more at American Society of Agronomy
Image: These plants were in one of the greenhouse experiments to search for a decrease in transpiration rate at high soil water content. The plants were weighed daily to calculate transpiration rate. (Credit: Avat Shekoofa)