- Vegetables: carrots
- Crop Production: crop improvement and selection
- Pest Management: cultivation, physical control, weed ecology
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
In carrot production, weed control can be difficult due to slow carrot emergence and poor competitive ability. Additionally, the cultivation of small carrots often results in crop injury and subsequent yield reductions. Carrot breeding efforts for organic systems have focused on breeding cultivars with greater top growth to increase competition with weeds, but tolerance to early physical weed control events would also benefit carrot growers. In this project, we will conduct greenhouse studies to evaluate early growth characteristics of multiple carrot cultivars, including root length, branching, and area, shoot length, leaf area and anchorage force. Field trials will then subject cultivars to selected weeding tools such as finger weeders, tine weeders, torsions, and stacked tool combinations. Carrot cultivation injury will be correlated to early growth characteristics, allowing for identification of traits that help carrots best tolerate cultivation. This will permit farmers to use cultivation tolerance as an additional criterion when selecting cultivars to grow. In the long-term this will help plant breeders select for those early growth traits and breed new carrot cultivars that are more cultivation tolerant, therefore improving carrot production across the US.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. Examine selected carrot cultivar early growth characteristics in the greenhouse and lab, including shoot height, shoot and root area, root to shoot area ratio, root branching, and shoot and root dry weights using a previously purchased WinRHIZO™ program (Regent Instruments, Québec, Canada).
2. Determine carrot cultivar root anchorage force in the lab using a previously purchased Alluris® FMI-B150 Force Gauge.
3. Assess carrot cultivar tolerance to cultivation events by examining crop injury pre- and post-cultivation using either a standard cultivator as a reference or a “stacked” implement that combines two to three cultivation tools.