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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture with Added Grower and Consumer Value

Location: Vegetable Crops Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop carrot breeding stocks for production in organic agriculture systems with improved nutritional value, trial carrots in diverse growing locations, and release germplasm to the seed industry. Grow carrot trials under conventional and organic practices in Wisconsin.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
a) Plant carrot seed with elite nematode and alternaria resistance and weed tolerance for testing in conventional and organic fields, three replicates each entry.

b) Evaluate seedling emergence.

c) Hand weed organic plots as needed; control weeds in conventional trials.

d) Evaluate top size of each entry at one month, 3 months, and harvest.

e) Harvest crop and provide root samples to PI's lab.


3.Progress Report:

This project was renumbered from 3655-21000-048-40A to 3655-21000-062-14A. Field Activities: Carrots were planted in the organic and conventional fields at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in May 2012 and May 2013. The organic carrot planting followed a winter cover crop of oat and was fertilized using feather-meal and leaf compost to provide 120 lbs Nitrogen (N) during the growing season. Conventional plots were located in a field previously planted with soybean and were fertilized with urea again to provide 120 lbs N during the growing season. Seed was sown approximately .25 inches deep by hand, with plots 1 m long, consisting of three rows spaced 15 inches apart, as is typical for organic carrot production in the region. Unseasonably warm temperatures characterized the spring of 2012, and a season-long drought began the week of planting. Despite implementing overhead irrigation one week after planting, at the stand and vigor assessments, it was evident that germination suffered due to the extreme heat and dry weather. Thus, a second planting was established on June 28, 2012. However, ongoing extreme temperatures caused stand issues in the later planted fields as well.

Stand and vigor counts, as well as early and mid-season top heights and widths, showed significant variation in the seedling vigor and early season growth of the various lines included in the trial. For the first planting, 35 day and 55 day stand evaluations occurred on June 21, 2012 and July 11, 2013. For the second planting, these evaluations occurred on August 3, 2012 and August 22, 2012. Fungal disease and insect pressure also varied between the trial entries.

Harvest for the first planting of carrots occurred on September 3, 2012 and harvest for the second planting occurred on October 16, 2012. While a complete evaluation was performed on the first harvest, only targeted entries were evaluated on the second harvest.

The primary outreach event for the project occurred on August 13, 2012. With participation from the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), the University of Wisconsin organized an organic breeding workshop, at which the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project was highlighted and the fields toured.

This research relates to the objective "Develop carrot breeding stocks for production in organic agriculture systems with improved nutritional value, trial carrots in diverse growing locations, and release germplasm to the seed industry. Grow carrot trials under conventional and organic practices in Wisconsin" by growing carrots under conventional and organic practices and by evaluating growth in these conditions.


Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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