- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NEWPORT, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas researchers say a disease that can cut peanut yields by half if left unchecked has been discovered in a plot near Newport.

Early leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of peanut plants. Symptoms include circular brown lesions with a yellow halo. The fungus also produces silvery, fuzzy tufts of spores on the top side of the leaf.

Plant pathologist Travis Faske says it’s unlikely this year’s peanut crop will be threatened by the disease because it’s only been detected in an isolated research plot.

Faske also says most fields are already near harvest, with yields running between 4,200 to 5,000 pounds per acre - about the same as in 2013. Arkansas has about 10,000 acres of peanuts.

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