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  • Author or Editor: Arthur Villordon x
  • HortTechnology x
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Handheld computing devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), can potentially reduce repetitive tasks that pervade data collection activities in horticultural research. PDA-collected records are electronically transferred to a desktop computer, eliminating manual reentry as well as the need of reviewing for incorrect data entries. In addition, PDAs can be enclosed in protective cases, enabling data collection in inclement weather. Visual CE-generated database forms installed on PDAs were used to electronically collect data from research trials conducted in 2003. The records were subsequently transferred to Microsoft Access desktop database tables for archiving and subsequent statistical analyses. Data for certain trials were also manually collected using paper forms to facilitate comparison between manual and PDA-assisted data collection methods under controlled conditions. Using paired samples analysis, we determined that electronic transfer of records reduced the time required to store the records into desktop computer files. Manual and PDA-based recording methods did not vary in the time required to enter numerical measurements. Our experience demonstrates that off-the-shelf software and consumer PDA devices are viable options for data collection in research. PDA-assisted data collection is potentially useful in situations where remote, site-specific records need to be merged into a central database and where standardized measurements and observations are essential for performing analysis.

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Web-accessible germplasm databases allow stakeholders to interactively search and locate information in real time. These databases can also be configured to permit designated users to remotely add, delete, or update information. These resources assist in decision-making activities that are related to germplasm documentation, conservation, and management. We report the development of a web-accessible database of Kenyan sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties using open source software. Kenya is located in eastern Africa, a region that is considered one of the centers of diversity for sweetpotato. We describe the software applications used in developing the germplasm database as well as the web interface for displaying and interactively searching records. This report demonstrates that open source software can be used in developing a web-enabled database with management features similar to those found in proprietary or commercial applications.

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Predictive models of optimum sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) harvest in relation to growing degree days (GDD) will benefit producers and researchers by ensuring maximum yields and high quality. A GDD system has not been previously characterized for sweetpotato grown in Louisiana. We used a data set of 116 planting dates and used a combination of minimum cv, linear regression (LR), and several algorithms in a data mining (DM) mode to identify candidate methods of estimating relationships between GDD and harvest dates. These DM algorithms included neural networks, support vector machine, multivariate adaptive regression splines, regression trees, and generalized linear models. We then used candidate GDD methods along with agrometeorological variables to model US#1 yield using LR and DM methodology. A multivariable LR model with the best adjusted r2 was based on GDD calculated using this method: maximum daily temperature (Tmax) – base temperature (B), where if Tmax > ceiling temperature [C (90 °F)], then Tmax = C, and where GDD = 0 if minimum daily temperature <60 °F. The following climate-related variables contributed to the improvement of adjusted r2 of the LR model: mean relative humidity 20 days after transplanting (DAT), maximum air temperature 20 DAT, and maximum soil temperature 10 DAT (log 10 transformed). In the DM mode, this GDD method and the LR model also demonstrated high predictive accuracy as quantified using mean square error. Using this model, we propose to schedule test harvests at GDD = 2600. The harvest date can further be optimized by predicting US#1 yield using GDD in combination with climate-based predictor variables measured within 20 DAT.

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Because sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) is vegetatively propagated, viruses and mutations can accumulate readily, which can lead to cultivar decline. Sweetpotato foundation seed programs in the United States maintain the integrity of commercial seed stock by providing virus-tested (VT) foundation seed to commercial producers. A survey was conducted in Louisiana from 2007 to 2009 to examine the performance and quality of the foundation seed after it had been integrated into commercial sweetpotato operations. G1 seed [grown 1 year after virus therapy in the foundation seed production field at the Sweet Potato Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter), at Chase, LA] was used as a reference to compare the yield and virus incidence of growers' generation 2 (G2) and generation 3 (G3) seed roots (grown in the growers' seed production fields 1 or 2 years following the year of foundation seed production). Although yields of plants grown from G2 and G3 seed were 86.3% and 86.1% for U.S. No. 1 and 83.3% and 86.0% for total marketable, respectively, compared with the yields from G1 seed, they were not significantly different. Yield and virus incidence data suggest that seed quality may vary from year to year and from location to location. Results from this study suggest that producers are realizing yield benefits by incorporating VT foundation seed into their production schemes, but further benefits could be attained if ways to reduce re-infection with viruses can be found.

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Consumption of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) has increased in the past decade in part because of its nutritional and health attributes, and because of the availability and convenience of processed products. The sweetpotato processing industry is expanding and supplying more sweetpotato products than ever before. Unlike the medium-sized roots (U.S. no.1) preferred for fresh market, large (jumbo) roots is accepted and in certain cases desired by the processing industry, and overall yield is preferred over strict sizing requirements and aesthetic appeal. Therefore, this study investigated the yield increase and grade proportions in response to plant spacing and extension of the growing period to improve profitability of the production system. Experiments with ‘Beauregard’ and ‘Evangeline’ sweetpotato were conducted in Mississippi and Louisiana during 2010 and 2011. Treatments consisted of a combination of early and late planting date and delay in harvest, in-row plant spacing, and row width. Yield increase was inconsistent with delaying harvest and appears to depend on environmental conditions at harvest late in the season. Marketable yield was consistently greater in early plantings than late plantings. Yield of U.S. no.1 grade was unaffected by delaying harvest regardless of planting date. Delaying harvest in early plantings contributed to increase jumbo-sized roots and marketable yield. The economic assessment of delaying harvest in early plantings indicated a gain in net benefit either when hand harvested for fresh market or field run bulk harvested for processing. Row width and in-row plant spacing had only a marginal effect on yield of canner grade (small-sized roots). The economic assessment of changing plant density indicated no gain in net benefit, which indicates that choice of plant density can depend on other factors.

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Tissue-cultured, virus-tested (TC) plantlets of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas var. batatas) cultivars Okinawan, LA 08-21p, and Murasaki-29 were obtained from Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. The objectives of field trials conducted at the Kula Agricultural Park, Maui, HI, were to compare yield and pest resistance of 1) ‘Okinawan’ obtained from a commercial (C) field with TC ‘Okinawan’ and 2) TC Okinawan with the aforementioned TC cultivars. Trials were planted Oct. 2015 and Aug. 2016 and harvested 5 months later. Storage roots were graded according to State of Hawai’i standards, and marketable yields included Grades AA, A, and B. In addition, injuries due to sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius elegantulus) or rough sweetpotato weevil (Blosyrus asellus) were estimated. In both trials, fresh and dry weights of marketable storage roots of TC ‘Okinawan’ were nearly twice those from commercial planting material. In both trials, marketable fresh weights differed among the three TC cultivars; however, significant interactions were found, indicating that yields of cultivars differed between years. In the first field trial, ‘LA 08-21p’ had fresh marketable yields 1.6 to 1.7 times greater than TC ‘Okinawan’ and Murasaki-29, respectively. In the second trial, fresh marketable yields of TC ‘Okinawan’ and ‘LA 08-21p’were similar and 1.7 to 1.5 times greater than that of ‘Murasaki-29’, respectively. In both trials, ‘LA 08-21p’ had greater sweetpotato weevil injury than did the other two cultivars. Interestingly, in the second year, TC ‘Okinawan’ had greater rough sweetpotato weevil injury than did the other cultivars. Our results indicate that tissue-cultured planting materials increased marketable yields of TC ‘Okinawan’ compared with C ‘Okinawan’ sweetpotato and that the other TC cultivars did not produce greater yields than TC Okinawan.

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