Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Zurweller, Brendan

Committee Member

Ferguson, Jason C.

Committee Member

Fox, Amelia A.

Committee Member

Gore, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Jagman, Dhillon

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Plant and Soil Sciences


Peanut digging timing is difficult to predict due to indeterminate growth and peanut pods maturing underground, resulting in the need to research methods that provide consistent measurements, while reducing time and effort for farmers and researchers. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the accuracy of the Maturity Index 1 and Maturity Index 2 in predicting peanut grade, the accuracy of the North Carolina 2 degree day method in predicting peanut yield, and remote sensing vegetative indices sensitivity equivalence (SEq) to peanut Maturity Index 2 and harvest grade (TSMK) for cultivars IPG-914 and Georgia-06G in Mississippi.

Maturity Index 1 and Maturity Index 2 were found to be inaccurate predictions of peanut grade in Mississippi, suggesting a need to examine the contributions of individual color classes in new genotypes to predict grade and yield. The North Carolina 2 degree day method was found to have a moderate to strong relationship with yield, indicating its potential usefulness in determining digging timing. Results also showed red edge indices were more sensitive to changes in pod maturity and grade.

Peanut genotype selection is critical for maximizing peanut grade and yield on farm. Experiments were conducted to evaluate 32 genotypes for maturity, grade, and yield. Several early maturing genotypes showed promise for improving yield and grade without reducing quality, particularly 'UF11x23-3-6-1-1', '16-1-2147', '16-1-2142', '14x029-1-5-1-1', and '14x022-1-2-1-2'. The results suggest earlier maturing genotypes may be a solution to the late-season harvest risk of crop loss due to poor digging conditions, rain, and frost, while maintaining similar pod grades and yield to the current market-leading cultivars.

The findings of this study contribute to the ongoing effort to optimize digging timing and improve peanut yields in Mississippi, where peanut farmers face the dual challenges of climatic variability and genotype selection. Future research is needed to examine the adaptability of genotypes on differing soil types, management, and climates throughout Mississippi. Overall, this study highlights the need for more effective and accurate methods for determining digging timing in peanut crops, which is crucial for their grade, and yield.