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James W. Rushing, Robert J. Dufault, Richard L. Hassell, and B. Merle Shepard

Feverfew has aspirin-like properties and has been utilized for the treatment of pain, particularly migraine headache. Parthenolide is the sesquiterpene lactone believed to be responsible for the medicinal properties. The potential for utilizing existing tobacco production and handling systems for the production and postharvest handling of feverfew was investigated. In year one, 8 commercial tobacco growers each planted about one-half acre of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L. Schulz-Bip.). The yield of dry herb varied among farmers from about 122 to 772 (55 to 350 kg) pounds per half-acre. The parthenolide content of the dried herb from most producers was within the range desired by industry, but four factors precluded its salability: a) presence of foreign matter, primarily weeds; b) excessive ash content due to contamination from sandy soils; c) mold resulting from processing with excessive moisture content, and; d) insect infestation (tobacco beetles Lasioderma serricorne) during storage. All of these limitations resulted from the failure to implement good agricultural aractices (GAPs) and good manufacturing practices (GMPs) during production and handling of the product. A second planting of the feverfew was carried out with strict attention to GAPs and GMPs. In this trial, all of the dried feverfew met the requirements for sale. Here we report on the management of production and handling systems for feverfew that can enable growers to produce high quality herbs that meet the high standards for medicinal use.

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Richard L. Hassell, Robert J. Dufault, Tyron Phillips, and Teri A. Hale

Seeds of pale coneflower (Echinacea pallida), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), and valerian (Valeriana officinalis), classified as “old” (1-year-old seed) or “fresh” (seed crop produced in the current year), were germinated at 62, 65, 69, 72, 75, 78, 82, 85, 89, and 92 °F, (16.7, 18.3, 20.6, 22.2, 23.9, 25.6, 27.8, 29.4, 31.6, and 33.3 °C). The optimum germination temperature, defined in this study as the temperature range within which the percent germination is greatest in the shortest period of time, was determined. Old and fresh pale coneflower seed germinated optimally after 5 days at 69 °F. Old purple coneflower seed required 5 d at 78 to 82 °F, but fresh seed germinated optimally after 3 days at 75 °F. Old feverfew germinated optimally after 5 days at 65 °F, but fresh seed germinated to its optimum after 5 days at 69 °F. Old and fresh valerian seed germinated to its optimum after 3 days at 75 °F.

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Robert J. Dufault, K. Dean Batal, Dennis Decoteau, J. Thomas Garrett, Darbie Granberry, Wayne McLaurin, Russell Nagata, Katharine B. Perry, and Douglas Sanders

The experiment screened two spring and two fall planting dates in six regions within North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The objective was to extend the production over the southeastern United States rather than at a single location. Spring harvests lasted from mid-April to early July. Summer-to-winter harvests lasted from mid-August to late January. Collards were not harvested in any of the locations from late January to mid-April or from early July to mid-August. More extensive planting dates may further increase the longevity of production.

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Laurie Hodges, Douglas C. Sanders, Katharine B. Perry, Kent M. Eskridge, K.M. `Dean' Batal, Darbie M. Granberry, Wayne J. McLaurin, Dennis Decoteau, Robert J. Dufault, J. Thomas Garrett, and Russell Nagata

Four bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) cultivars were evaluated for yield (total weight of marketable fruit) performance over 41 environments as combinations of 3 years, three planting dates, and seven locations across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Cultural practices, including trickle irrigation and double rows planted on black-plastic-covered beds, were uniform across all environments, except for fertilization, which was adjusted at each location based on soil tests. Comparing production over 3 years between the mountain location and the Coastal Plain location in North Carolina, yields were lower on the Coastal Plain. Spring plantings provided higher yields than summer plantings at both locations. Yield increases were obtained from hybrid cultivars over that of the open-pollinated (OP) standard [`Keystone Resistant Giant #3' (KRG#3)] in the summer planting in the mountains compared to the Tidewater Coastal Plain. Across the three-state region, hybrid cultivar yields were higher than those of the OP cultivar for the second spring planting date in 1986 and 1987. Although the hybrid yields were higher than that of the OP standard, the hybrid `Skipper' yielded less than the other hybrids (`Gator Belle' and `Hybelle'). `Gator Belle' generally out-yielded `Hybelle' at all locations, except in Fletcher, N.C. This difference may be related to the relative sensitivity of these two cultivars to temperature extremes, rather than soil or geographic factors, because there was a tendency for `Hybelle' yields to exceed `Gator Belle' in the earliest planting date. Based on the reliability index, the chance of outperforming KRG#3 (the standard) was 85% for `Hybelle', 80% for `Gator Belle', but only 67% for `Skipper'.