Early leaf spot, a disease that can cut peanut yields by 50 percent has been confirmed in Arkansas, Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said on Wednesday.
The fungal disease, which affects the peanut plants’ leaves, was detected in a research plot near Newport.
“To my knowledge this is the first time ELS has been found in the state,” he said.
Symptoms include circular brown lesions with a yellow halo. The fungus, Cercospora arachidicola, also produces silvery, fuzzy tufts of spores on the top side of the leaf.
“Given that ELS was only detected in one research plot that is isolated from most of the peanut producing areas of the state and that most fields are near harvest, it is very unlikely that ELS will be a threat to the 2014 peanut crop,” Faske said.
Faske said that about 40-50 percent of the state’s peanut crop has been dug and yields are running between 4,200 to 5,000 pounds per acre, about the same as in 2013. Arkansas has about 10,000 acres of peanuts.