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  • Author or Editor: Allan C. Thornton x
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The goal of this research was to determine the effects of in-row spacing and planting time on yield and root grade of NC 98-608 over time. Two plantings were made in two grower locations (four total). An early planting was made 19 and 25 May and a late planting 19 and 24 June. NC 98-608 was evaluated at the following in-row spacings; 23, 31, 38, and 46 cm. `Beauregard' spaced at 23 cm in-row and was used as the standard comparison. Roots were harvested and graded into canner, number one, jumbo and cull grades 90, 105, and 120 days after planting for each of the planting dates and locations. Each grade was weighed. An early planting in late May resulted in roots reaching the highest percentage grade of U.S. number one roots as early as 100 days after planting, while the late planting in June resulted in roots never reaching their full number one yield potential in some cases. For an early harvest after planting (90 days after planting) the 38 cm in-row spacing produced the most marketable number one yields compared with the 23, 31, and 46 cm in-row spacings. For a later harvest time after planting (105 days or later), it appeared as though the 31 cm in-row spacing was the most economical spacing to use. Roots from the early plantings (late May) and finer textured soils appeared to have shorter roots than roots harvested from later plantings (after 15 June) or coarser textured soil. Root shape and yield was more uniform with NC 98-608 than with the Beauregard clone. With yields comparable to Beauregard, the NC 98-608 clone provides an excellent opportunity to produce a quality sweetpotato with consistent shape.

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‘Covington’ is an orange-fleshed, smooth-skinned, rose-colored, table-stock sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] developed by North Carolina State University (NCSU). ‘Covington’, named after the late Henry M. Covington, an esteemed sweetpotato scientist at North Carolina State, was evaluated as NC98-608 in multiple state and regional yield trials during 2001 to 2006. ‘Covington’ produces yields equal to ‘Beauregard’, a dominant sweetpotato variety produced in the United States, but it is typically 5 to 10 days later in maturity. ‘Covington’ typically sizes its storage roots more evenly than ‘Beauregard’ resulting in fewer jumbo class roots and a higher percentage of number one roots. Total yields are similar for the two clones with the dry matter content of ‘Covington’ storage roots typically being 1 to 2 points higher than that of ‘Beauregard’. ‘Covington’ is resistant to fusarium wilt [Fusarium oxysporum Schlect. f.sp. batatas (Wollenw.) Snyd. & Hans.], southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White 1919) Chitwood 1949 race 3], and moderately resistant to streptomyces soil rot [Streptomyces ipomoeae (Person & W.J. Martin) Wakswan & Henrici]. Symptoms of the russet crack strain of Sweet Potato Feathery Mottle Virus have not been observed in ‘Covington’. The flavor of the baked storage roots of ‘Covington’ has been rated as very good by standardized and informal taste panels and typically scores as well or better in this regard when compared with ‘Beauregard’.

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