Grafted Watermelon Plants: Under What Conditions and Practices Does Using Them Offer the Best Return on Investment?

A lot of research is focused on answering that two-part question for watermelon and other crops (e.g., cucumber, cantaloupe, tomato, pepper). Full answers will emerge as growers and researchers share and integrate their experiences then evolve as circumstances change. Currently, most agree that using grafted plants is most beneficial when a resistant rootstock is selected to help offset the effects of a significant soilborne disease (e.g., Fusarium, Verticillium), regardless of crop. However, rootstocks with additional traits are being tested under other troublesome conditions (e.g., salinity, heat, cold, drought, flood). Growers are encouraged to listen as peers and research-extension and industry personnel share new information on the performance of grafted plants under various conditions. Information will be specific to crop, setting (field, high tunnel), system (conventional, organic), market, farm size, and other key variables.

Soil and other production conditions are not the only factors that influence the value of grafted plants to growers. Practices used to grow the plants are also important. Plant and row spacings (plant populations), irrigation and fertility programs, and planting and harvesting dates may also affect growers’ experiences with grafted plants.

Industry-research/extension partnerships can help fast-track arriving at answers to where and how grafted plants should be grown for growers to benefit most. We work with plots at OSU and on farms to understand the impacts of in-row spacing, fertility programs, and more on watermelon fruit yield and quality. Grafted and standard (ungrafted) plants are included in each experiment. Results from a multi-year study in Wooster through 2020 are summarized in a short video at https://go.osu.edu/vegeprosystemslab. Overall, fruit number and total weight have been significantly greater in grafted plots and at an in-row spacing of five versus four feet (between-row spacing of six feet in all cases). The results suggest growers can reduce plant populations but increase yield meaningfully – i.e., reduce plant costs while increasing income potential. Importantly, evidence of Fusarium in this experiment has been absent or minimal in all previous years. As explained and shown in the panels below, Fusarium is affecting the experiment significantly in 2021. Standard (ungrafted) Fascination and Sweet Dawn plants are very weak or dead while grafted versions of both (Carnivor, Pelops as rootstocks) remain healthy and vigorous. Harvest will begin soon and fruit yield data will be available by season’s end. Please contact me if you would like more information on this experiment or grafting.

Wayne County IPM Notes From August 9 – 13

Vegetable Crops

Squash vine borer damaged plants.

This week brought about many sightings of squash vine borer larva. The adult squash vine borer moths were actively flying and lay eggs about a month ago. We are now seeing plants that are declining in health and when inspected further, are oozing frass and have stems that look shredded. When we split the stem of these plants, in nearly every instance, we found at least one, if not several squash vine borer larvae. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to reverse such severe damage.

A large squash vine borer found feeding in a pumpkin plant.

Flea beetles are feeding on young cabbage and broccoli, and the cabbage worm butterflies are finding their way into these plantings as well. We are starting to see some damage in peppers from the European corn borer and expect the ECB and CEW numbers in the traps to increase in the next week or so.

Small Fruit and Orchards

As apples and peaches are harvested, do not let your guard down on the late season generations of codling moth and oriental fruit moth. This past week was another week of rising codling moth numbers, and consistent oriental fruit moth catches, although the oriental fruit moth numbers have not gone back over threshold.

Grapes damaged by grape berry moth larvae.

Grapes are starting to ripen, and as the season progresses, we are still finding consistent trap catches of grape berry moth. Although it may be too late for some varieties, you may still be able to protect later maturing varieties with a treatment for grape berry moth.

Notes from the Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Field Day – August 26

Pumpkin field day flyer

We are less than 13 days away from the 2021 in-person pumpkin field day on August 26 at the Western Ag Research Station (7721 S. Charleston Pike, S. Charleston). We will have two hours of presentations plus time for growers to roam the plots and see what interests them, including the powdery mildew fungicide trial, pumpkin and squash hybrid trial, and weed control plots.

The field day starts promptly at 5:30 PM where we will have Dr. Aaron Wilson from OSU talking about weather impacts on pumpkin production and Tony Dobbels reviewing a weed screen plot with 10 herbicide treatment combinations of Reflex, Sandea, Dual Magnum and Strategy. For diseases, we were very fortunate to pry Dr. Dan Egel from Purdue University to speak about disease control in pumpkins. Jim Jasinski will briefly cover the pumpkin and squash trial and powdery mildew fungicide trial. After the presentations the participants will be allowed to move around the plots. The field day will end at 7:30 PM.

Pre-registration is a must for this event so please use this link.
https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7WnQLmG3bcyQWc6

Cut-off for pre-registration will be Aug. 24. No walk in registration will be possible. Social distancing and mask wearing might be required for the outdoor event so come prepared. No beverages will be provided so bring your own.

Weed Control Video on IPM YouTube

Tony Dobbels talks about weed control in pumpkins and squash

For growers who are unsatisfied with their early and mid-season weed control in pumpkin and squash,  take 15 minutes and check out this new pre-emergent herbicide video narrated by Tony Dobbels, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. In the video, Tony reviews 10 herbicide treatments and combinations of  Sandea, Dual Magnum, Strategy and Reflex (currently under a 24c label) and gives his thoughts on their level of control and fit for overall pumpkin and squash production. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/NmSX4FqK7T4

Powdery Mildew Beginning to Roll
After what seemed like a slower than average start to the powdery mildew season (at least at the research station), leaves in the untreated checks have been climbing to between 50-75% coverage. Be sure to treat on a 7-10 days schedule and use proper FRAC number rotation to reduce the incidence of fungicide insensitivity. Sally Miller’s article on July 10 (https://u.osu.edu/vegnetnews/2021/07/10/addendum-more-powdery-mildew-fungicides-for-cucurbits/) is a great resource to what has been working lately in Ohio and is a must read as we approach the mid point of the disease management season.

Pumpkin Insects Report
For the most part squash vine borer has died down for the season. I saw some extensive damage in the Hardin County crop walk a few weeks back in zucchini but haven’t seen it in any of my pumpkin or squash plantings at the station, although I have been actively catching adults until about two weeks ago.

Cucumber beetles are still hanging out in the flowers but as we approach 100% orange in some of our trials, fewer and fewer flowers are being produced so I expect a switch soon to possible rind feeding. If you are in a similar situation, keep an eye on flower production and where the beetles are actively feeding to avoid rind damage which could lower market quality.

Mating squash bugs.

So that leaves squash bugs as the only insect I see at the station beginning to increase fairly steadily, with many egg masses being detected on leaves, followed by gray nymphs typically aggregated together and eventually larger brown adults. These pests have sucking mouth parts and can feed extensively on the petioles, vines and fruit, sometimes causing collapse. If there are over one egg mass per planting, treatment of the emerged nymphs is easier than waiting for them to become adults. Only treat if necessary to avoid aphid explosions with their accompanying honey dew and black sooty mold on leaves and fruit.

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Indiana, Update on Ohio’s Population

This story was originally written by Amy Stone, Ohio State University and posted in the BYGL newsletter.

Last week, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced that the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was detected in Swi

Spotted Lanternfly adult.

tzerland County. As a result, the information was shared via a BYGL Alert last Monday (https://bygl.osu.edu/node/1832). Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management Program has updated a SLF map that gives the big picture of where SLF is known to be in North America.

The new find in Indiana is in the southeast corner along the Ohio River, across from Kentucky and near Cincinnati, Ohio. This discovery is the farthest west infestation to date. I would also like to point out that Ohio only has a single county, Jefferson County in the southeast portion of the buckeye state, that is known to have SLF population.

Both of the finds in Ohio and Indiana, were reported by residents. This is important to note and the reason we are turning to all Ohioans to be on the lookout for the SLF. Currently, you would be seeing later instar nymphs and/or adults if you would come across this non-native invasive planthopper.

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021 the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), made an insecticide application in Mingo Junction in Jefferson County as a means to reduce, and the goal of potentially eliminating SLF in Ohio. The application was made using a mist blower mounted on the back of a truck. This was the second treatment made in the block this year.

The treatment block is across the street from the initial discovery brought to ODA and OSU’s attention by a local resident who became familiar with the insect, as a result of social media outreach efforts by Erika Lyon, the OSU Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator in Jefferson County. This is an excellent example of how outreach is successful. If this man did not say anything, the population could have continued to build and expand before it became more noticeable by someone else. The hillside in Jefferson County is bordered by train tracks and a street.

There are also SLF traps in the area for ongoing monitoring. This trap was place on a tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) tree, a preferred host of the insect. The insects climb up the trunk of the tree, and ultimately into the plastic bag. The traps are monitored and if SLF is present, those numbers recorded for tracking purposes. In addition to the stands of tree of heaven on the hillside, this area also had a lot of wild grapevines, another SLF favorite.

Employee who captured the second SLF adult near a local business.

While the treatment was being applied, Jim Jasinski, OSU’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator and I did a little more scouting near the location of the initial find. It was there where we found several adult SLF. The first find was on a building captured by an employee and the others were found climbing up a utility pole alongside the road, which is something that has been observed in other SLF infestations. We simply mention this because, in addition to scouting for SLF on their preferred hosts, looking at these types of poles or vertical structures might not be a bad idea. While we hope you don’t find SLF, we do need everyone’s help is looking for this pest.

And as a reminder, if you find an insect that you suspect is SLF, you can use the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) App, or contact ODA directly by phone, email, or their online reporting system. Their contact information can be found at:  https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/invasive-pests/slf

For More Information
Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly Web Page
https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/invasive-pests/…

 

 

Wayne County IPM Notes from July 19 – 23

Vegetable Crops

Powdery mildew found on a cucurbit plant in a Wayne County field.

The Vegetable Pathology Lab at OARDC has confirmed several more cases of downy mildew, on both cucumbers and cantaloupe. It is important to take steps to either protect your crop or stop the spread of any ongoing infections. Powdery mildew is also spreading rapidly through the area. Although some heavy rains may have slowed its spread, favorable conditions have led to some fields rapidly becoming infected.

Flea beetles feeding on young green cabbage plants.

Bacterial diseases continue to spread in pepper and tomato plantings. Pay close attention to these crops in particular, and make sure that you are taking the necessary precautions so as to not spread bacterial diseases. Bacteria can be spread from plant to plant via clothing, equipment, or animals. More from APS

Flea beetles are feeding heavily on recently planted cole crops, which left uncontrolled can cause stunted and underperforming plants. Another insect we have seen quite a few of is the squash vine borer. Although these are not typically going to harm large numbers of plants, they can still be a nuisance, especially in smaller plantings.

Small Fruit and Orchards

 This week we found our first incidence of scab in apples. While this was only an isolated find on a few leaves, it is a good reminder to take some time to scout your apple trees and look for any signs of scab. Oriental fruit moth numbers were significantly above threshold again this week. Japanese beetles were also

Severe damage from Japanese beetles feeding on the foliage of apple trees.

still feeding heavily in many of the fruit crops we scout. Spotted wing drosophila are still being found in all of our traps, and for anyone with small fruit in the area, it is recommended that you treat for SWD.

Optimizing Vegetable Fertilizer Programs

Recent farm visits, questions from growers, and observations of research plots have me thinking about nitrogen and other fertilizer programs for vegetable crops grown in open fields and high tunnels for fresh and processing markets. What are optimal ranges for each production situation, which factors influence optimal rates most significantly, and what steps can growers and others take to identify optimal rates for each farm and planting?

Ranges currently recognized as optimal are published in numerous guides, handbooks, and other resources. The Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers, Southeast Vegetable Production Handbook, Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations, New England Vegetable Management Guide, and references available from Cornell (e.g., https://cropandpestguides.cce.cornell.edu/) and other universities are helpful in Ohio and the region. The publications provide operating fertilizer application targets and tips on how to reach them. Targets in the publications are the best available benchmarks. However, it is best to think of them as not fixed in stone and as needing to be validated for individual cropping situations. On-farm validation (adjustment by trial and error) using published, research-based and other reliable benchmarks as starting points saves time, money, and headache.

Indeed, since production conditions change continuously and research-based recommendations require years to develop, evaluating fertilizer programs (material, rate, timing, placement) often is good practice. Like effective crop protection programs, fertilizer ones are not static, they need to be updated as weather patterns, varieties, rotations, fertilizer materials and their costs, and other factors change. Observe crops now and through the remainder of the season and ask if you are convinced their fertilizer programs are optimal. If you aren’t convinced, consider experimenting carefully.

Experiments are most effective when they account for factors that tend to influence their outcomes most significantly and consistently. To refresh my memory on these factors, especially nitrogen application rate effects on watermelon and other Cucurbit crops, I looked at extension resources referenced above and reports from research completed in the U.S. and other countries. I was also very pleased to hear from Ohio growers on the same topic.

That input pointed to the following seven factors as most likely to shape optimal fertilizer, especially nitrogen, application rates for individual farms, soils, crops, and plantings.
1. Soil type and condition. Sandy, loam, or clayey? Organic matter level? Have a prominent plow layer or other condition affecting drainage, etc? Fertilizer programs must be calibrated to soil type and condition since they influence many facets of nutrient availability at any one time.
2. Fertilizer application approach. For example, will fertigation be used? Fertilizer application approaches influence which materials are used, when and where they are applied, and their likely efficiency.
3. Precipitation and irrigation. Soil moisture management is a very large percentage of nutrient management. Are the irrigation and fertilizer programs in sync? Is rainfall cooperating? Can the program be adjusted for weather?
4. Variety(ies). Shifting market expectations (e.g., large to personal-size melon) may have implications for the fertilizer program. Similarly, the program may also need to be adjusted to maximize gains from using grafted planting stock because rootstocks may differ in, for example, their abilities to obtain nutrients and water.
5. Cultural practices. Production on plastic-covered raised beds versus the flat. Standard versus strip- or reduced tillage approach. Row and plant spacings (plant populations). These and other factors are consistently mentioned as factors shaping the four R’s (material, rate, timing, placement) of all fertilizer programs. The fertilizer program may need to be tweaked if any of these factors are changed.
6. Crop growth stage. Especially important for fruiting vegetables, including Cucurbit and Solanaceous crops. Nitrogen and other macro- and micronutrient levels influence many aspects of crop biology directly impacting (fruit) yield and quality from seeding/transplanting to harvest. Metering nutrient availability by crop stage is a proven, essential tactic in soilless greenhouse production. The same level of control is impossible in soil-based field or high tunnel production; however, a realistic application of the principle can be beneficial in both systems.
7. Nutrient credits. There is often little need to apply what is already there. Basing planned applications on current, reliable soil test data is a cornerstone of successful, efficient, cost-effective fertilizer programs.

Finally, setting optimistic but realistic yields goals, especially for non-vegetable rotation crops, if any, is also beneficial. Realistic yield goals help avoid significantly under- or over-applying fertilizer, regardless of crop. Avoiding such deficiencies and excesses enhances the overall return on investments in the current and subsequent crops.

Wayne County IPM Notes from the Week of July 12th – July 16th

Vegetable Crops

Of most importance, the Vegetable Pathology Lab in Wooster confirmed Downy Mildew on a cucumber plot at OARDC. Cucumber growers are highly encouraged to begin taking action to protect their plants, especially as more cases are confirmed around the area.

Squash vine borer on a pumpkin plant. Tommy Becker photo.

Japanese beetles are out in force this year and continue to be one of the most consistent insect pests from week to week on a wide range of crops. Other insect pests of note included Colorado Potato Beetles that have migrated off of harvested potato plantings in into tomato and eggplant plantings. In squash, we have still been finding quite a few squash bug egg masses. Squash Vine Borers have also been spotted in some area pumpkin plantings.

Colorado Potato Beetles feeding on a tomato plant. Tommy Becker photo.

During these heavy rains, we have noticed a significant amount of soil splashed up onto the plants and fruit. This will likely encourage more disease incidence. Accordingly, take extra time and care to scout your crops in the coming weeks.

Sweet corn pests like corn ear worm and European corn borer are not showing much activity in our traps. We occasionally find damaged tassels from ECB feeding, however, we have yet to have any fields go over the 10% damage threshold.

Small Fruit and Orchards

 Between last week and this week, we have seen a sustained flight of oriental fruit moth in area peach blocks as our traps have been well over threshold for the last two weeks. Our codling moth traps still do not show much activity.

Over ripe Lodi apple that had spilt following a heavy rain.

We did find some interesting things while scouting apples this week, including blister spot on some “Delicious” apple varieties and Lodi apples that had burst and fell off the trees due to being over ripe.

As a note for all small fruit growers, all of our traps for SWD in the area are currently catching SWD, therefore, we recommend you treat your small fruit. Pay close attention to the label, especially the REI (re-entry interval) and PHI (pre-harvest interval). Another note for all fruit crops, Japanese beetles are feeding on grapes, apples, peaches, and blueberries. The beetles can do significant defoliation as well as damage to the fruit.

Wayne County IPM Notes for the Week of July 5 – July 9

Vegetable Crops

High tunnel tomatoes were one of the areas of focus for disease development this past week. Many high tunnel tomatoes are currently experiencing cases of leaf mold. As a side note on high tunnel tomatoes, we did observe a thrips outbreak in a high tunnel, where heavy feeding by the thrips was causing significant discoloration of the foliage and stunting of the plants. Peppers took the other majority of the focus with disease development, mainly due to favorable conditions for bacterial diseases to manifest. Several pepper samples tested positive for bacterial infection.

Flea beetles seemed to make a comeback this week. Several fields of cole crops were over threshold for flea beetle counts. Japanese beetles are continuing to feed in the majority of the crops planted in the area. Other insects like squash bugs are starting to be found more frequently, specifically in early planted summer squash.

Sticking with cucurbits, we are starting to find spots of powdery mildew in plantings of zucchini and yellow squash. It is important to scout your crops and look for powdery mildew, especially if you have succession plantings of young cucurbit crops nearby. Powdery mildew is easily spread onto younger plants, so it is recommended that you keep up with spraying for powdery mildew and terminate the older infected plantings once you are done harvesting.

Small Fruit and Orchards

 First and foremost, we have found spotted winged drosophila in the Wayne County area. The threshold for SWD in small fruit is 1 fly. Since we are now finding adults, we encourage growers to also do salt tests on the berries to check for larvae.

Wooly apple aphids continue to show up in the several apple orchards in the area. These are a tough pest to get under control due to their protective waxy coating.

OFM counts in some peach blocks were above threshold for the first time in several weeks. OFM counts remained well below threshold.

Syncing the Amount of Water Available to Crops with Their Need for It

Vegetable growers work to ensure their crops have the water they need, but only the amount they need, from crop initiation through harvest. It’s a big, complex job requiring attention to water supply and demand, including soils and crops, and much preparation because the time to verify that drainage and irrigation capacities are adequate is before they are needed.

Indeed, when rainfall is excessive, the combined abilities of the soil and drainage system to accommodate the load is key, along with the crop’s ability to withstand flooding. Mapping fields soon after a “flooding rain” or lengthy irrigation cycle can identify where drainage improvements may be essential. Such improvements often result from combinations of “plumbing” (e.g., tiling), soil management and additives, and rethinking (lengthening and diversifying) crop rotations. If water is entering the high tunnel from outside it, grading the site may be necessary.

Irrigation is applied when there is clear evidence soil moisture is below crop need. Verifying the irrigation system is up to the task and knowing when to turn the system on and off are three critical tasks and decisions.

Whether overhead or drip, each irrigation system can deliver a specific amount of water in a fixed amount of time. However, using flow meters and periodically checking the condition of the system helps verify the flow rate to the crop is truly equal to the system’s calculated capacity. Leaks and blockages interfere with delivering the desired amount of water throughout the field or planting.

Knowing when and for how long to run the irrigation system requires clear and reliable reads on both the crop’s need for water and its availability from the soil. Years of farming experience and a strong understanding of soil conditions and irrigation systems are obvious assets in making those assessments. However, off-the-shelf technology (e.g., soil probes, tensiometers, gypsum blocks, flow meters) and decision aids (e.g., crop evapotranspiration calculators, irrigation charts in production guides) complement experience and reduce the irrigation learning curve. Irrigate to meet crop need and avoid under- or overshooting it significantly as often as possible.

Another point about crop water needs which affect the timing and/or amount of irrigation: they vary meaningfully with multiple crop-based, abiotic, and grower-based factors.

Two related ones may be critical at this point in the season many have experienced to date. First, alternating dry-wet periods have made it difficult for some to maintain soil moisture at levels consistently equal to crop need. For example, some have asked how much to credit rainfall under a variety of circumstances, including when plastic-covered raised beds are used. Moisture sensors under the plastic would be useful in making that determination. Second, soil conditions and irrigation practices can shape root systems which, in turn, influences the crop’s ability to take-up water. Overall, excess soil moisture, including because irrigation has been excessive, can result in shallow root systems. Shallow root systems limit plant access to water, making the crop more prone to displaying symptoms of low water stress although moisture levels deeper in the soil profile may be adequate. Wilting or other symptoms trigger irrigation, continuing the cycle. So, while it is never clear beforehand if the season will be dry, wet, or just right, the best practice is to irrigate according to crop need from the start and to rigorously cross-check assessments of crop need against the best-available information.

Partnerships, Teamwork, and Persistence Bring New Potato Varieties

Hundreds of new, promising, numbered (unnamed) potato genotypes are evaluated at research station and farm sites each year. Ohio State is one of many institutions involved. In 2021, we are evaluating more than 100 numbered selections from four breeding programs against seven standard industry varieties. The same evaluation techniques we use can be employed by individual vegetable farms.

High-performing varieties are just one of the core raw materials for vegetable production, which also relies on water, mined or manufactured inputs and equipment, and the know-how to use all of them. Whether formal or informal, variety evaluation is essential for individual growers and the vegetable industry. Since now is when differences among varieties of individual crops begin to show themselves on farms and research stations, it’s a good time to discuss traits and processes used to evaluate varieties.

When we evaluate genotypes of potato being considered for naming and release as varieties, we score plant maturity and record total and marketable yield and more than ten tuber characteristics for each entry (e.g., tuber size and shape, skin color and texture, flesh color, eye depth, incidence of internal defects, and specific gravity and chip color). Collaborators in other states evaluate the same genotypes for pest and disease resistance, crop tolerance to heat stress, storage effects on tuber quality, and tuber cooking quality and sensory properties. So, like for other vegetables, developing potato varieties requires teamwork.

Background on the Variety Development Process

Experimental genotypes originate in public-sector breeding programs based at universities and the USDA. In fact, although varieties developed by private companies (e.g., major processors) contribute significantly, the U.S. potato industry (especially the fresh/tablestock and chip sectors) has long relied on varieties developed in the public sector. Public-sector varieties are developed by large teams led by universities, USDA, and/or state industry associations or organizations and account for most of the available varieties, acreage, and value of production.

Whether public or private, variety development teams include breeders/geneticists, agronomists/horticulturalists, plant pathologists, entomologists, food scientists, farmers, processors, and people with expertise in related areas.

Potato varieties are named, released, and made available for commercial use only after years of comprehensive, widespread testing, beginning with just a few plants and concluding at farm scale. Once released, varieties support processing (i.e., chip, fry), fresh market/tablestock, and/or breeding programs. The varieties ‘Atlantic’ (released in 1976), ‘Dark Red Norland’ (1957), ‘Katahdin’ (1932), ‘Kennebec’ (1948), ‘Red LaSoda’ (1953), ‘Superior’ (1962), and ‘Yukon Gold’ (1981) are just a few examples of public-sector varieties that have been planted to many thousands of acres over decades of production. Varieties like these set the bar for and/or are found in the “family trees” of newer, increasingly popular varieties.

Still, markets, production conditions, and industry factors change continuously. Therefore, variety development must be ongoing and once-popular varieties are eventually displaced by new, more farmer-, processor-, and consumer-friendly ones. The process is designed to enhance industry success and consumer satisfaction.

Evaluation is nearly continuous since sites are located throughout the U.S. and the process begins before planting and ends long after harvest. Groups based in the East, Midwest/Upper Midwest, West and Pacific Northwest, and South often coordinate the work. Ohio State and Ohio farmers and processors have participated annually for more than fifty years. We emphasize the evaluation of genotypes originating in eight breeding programs and with potential value in fresh and chip markets and have contributed to the release of multiple varieties used in Ohio and elsewhere.

Sharing Results

Data from our 2021 trials will be summarized in a report available at https://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/technical-reports/ with data from 2020 and previous years available at https://neproject.medius.re/trials/potato/ne1731 and https://neproject.medius.re/. Later, we will join team members from Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and USDA and industry partners to discuss evaluation outcomes and begin selecting new entries and others to be evaluated again or dropped from the program. With information reflecting variety or experimental selection performance in the field and on the plate, the breeder and team have key information when making the thumb-up/thumb-down decision on each entry.

Still, for all crops, the performance of each variety (or experimental genotype) hinges on how it is managed, the know-how allowing growers to get the most from each variety. Planting and harvest dates, plant populations (spacings), irrigation and fertility programs, etc. influence variety performance and, therefore, whether a grower will select the variety again. So far, potato genotype evaluations at Ohio State have been completed without irrigation and this approach has clearly affected tuber yield and quality. We are rethinking this approach and look forward to speaking with vegetable and potato growers about their use of irrigation.