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Research Project: Genomics and Genetic Improvement of Disease Resistance and Horticultural Characteristics of Watermelon, Broccoli, and Leafy Brassicas

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Effect of plastic color on yield and quality of eight broccoli hybrids

item WARD, BRIAN - Clemson University
item HORRY, MATT - Clemson University
item SIMMONS, CHRIS - Clemson University
item Couillard, David
item Farnham, Mark

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2018
Publication Date: 8/15/2018
Citation: Ward, B.K., Horry, M.I., Simmons, C., Couillard, D.M., Farnham, M.W. 2018. Effect of plastic color on yield and quality of eight broccoli hybrids. HortScience 53(g):S71.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Broccoli consumption and production acreage along the eastern U.S. is increasing, and growers are looking to capitalize on cultural practices that maximize production. Although broccoli has been traditionally grown on bare ground, there is an increase in production utilizing plasticulture, especially as a second crop after commercial cucurbit and solanaceous crops. This study was implemented to determine yield and quality of the commercial hybrids Bay Meadows, Castle Dome, Belstar, Iron Man, Gypsy and three experimental hybrids (1, 2, and 3) planted in three environments on black, reflective and white polyethylene mulch. The trials used a randomized block design and plots were set on 6’ centers as twin rows 14” apart and within row spacing at 6”. Planting dates were March 21, 2016, September 19, 2016 and September 21, 2017. Quality was graded for the traits head extension, head color, head shape, head uniformity, head firmness, bead size, bead uniformity, bracting, overall quality, plot uniformity and holding ability. Soil temperatures under the plastic across all environments were lowest with reflective, and increasingly higher with white and black, respectively. Air temperatures in the canopy zone directly above the mulch were highest with reflective, and lowest with white. Yield and quality varied among environments and color of plastic mulch. In spring 2016, Gypsy out-yielded all other cultivars on black plastic with a total of 31,972 lbs/Ac. On reflective mulch, Hybrid 1 had the highest yield of 32,985 lbs/Ac, and on white mulch, Castle Dome was highest at 33,258 lbs/Ac. Yields were generally better in the fall of 2016, with Belstar outperforming all other cultivars at 41,085 lbs/Ac. In that same environment, Iron Man outperformed all other cultivars yielding 43,097 lbs/ Ac on reflective mulch, while Belstar was the best hybrid on white mulch yielding 37,459 lbs/Ac. In fall 2017, Gypsy was the top performer on black, reflective and white mulches at 39,706, 35,473 and 37,196 lbs/Ac, respectively. Quality characteristics varied with regard to cultivar, environment and color of mulch. Results of this trial indicate certain hybrids perform better with regard to yield, quality and earliness depending on the mulch used, which will help growers better plan their future broccoli productions.