Arkansas peanut growers advised to clean harvesting equipment brought from out of state as aggressive Sclerotinia blight disease can be transported on machinery, plant pathologist says

WALNUT RIDGE, Arkansas , March 7, 2012 () – Arkansas peanut growers are being advised to clean harvesting equipment brought in from outside the state.

Peanut acreage is on the rise in Arkansas as dry conditions in Oklahoma and Texas have diminished the supply. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture on Tuesday warned growers that out-of-state equipment can import a damaging fungus.

Extension plant pathologist Travis Faske says an aggressive disease of peanut and certain other crops called Sclerotinia blight can be brought in on the machinery.

Once the fungus is in a field, it can't be eradicated. Faske says yield losses of 10% are common when the fungus strikes.

Growers should wash equipment thoroughly to remove any soil or plant matter before bringing it to the farm.

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