Differential Effect of Population Density on Shape and Size of Cylindrical Red Beet Genotypes

in HortScience
Author:
I.L. GoldmanDept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

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The use of cylindrically shaped red beet cultivars for production of processing beets has increased in recent years. Yield and shape of globe-shaped red beet cultivars are determined in part by population density and within-row spacing; thus, it is thought cylindrical cultivars are similarly affected by these factors. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of population density on shape and size of cylindrical red beet cultivars. Two F1 hybrids and two open-pollinated cultivars were planted in replicated trials consisting of three population densities during 1993 and 1994. Ten traits were measured on a randomly selected sample of beets from each plot. Averaged over genotypes, significant differences among densities were found for percent harvestable beets per plot, length × width, harvest weight, length, and mid-width. Average over genotypes, greater harvest weight, higher percentage of harvestable beets, and greater length, mid-width, and length × width values were found at low density. Average over densities, open-pollinated cultivars exhibited a greater degree of straightness along with lower yield, harvest weight, and percent harvestable beets than their hybrid counterparts. These data demonstrate population density has a differential effect on shape and size of cylindrical beet genotypes.

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