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  • Author or Editor: Brad Tonnessen x
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Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a high-value crop cultivated worldwide. Harvested lettuce acreage in New Mexico, USA, trails the leading lettuce production states (California, Arizona), but growers in New Mexico are interested in expanding their production. For New Mexico farmers to increase lettuce production to reach new markets, information on heat-tolerant cultivar performance is needed. This study was conducted to evaluate six lettuce cultivars described as heat tolerant by seed suppliers or other sources. In 2020 and 2021, we assessed two butterhead types, ‘Anuenue’ and ‘Mikola RG10’; two green leaf types, ‘Muir’ and ‘Tropicana’; and two romaine types, ‘Parris Island Cos’ and ‘Sparx’, in the Jose Fernandez Garden at the New Mexico State University Heritage Farm in Las Cruces, NM. To determine which cultivars and types of lettuce are better suited for southern New Mexico, we measured these variables: marketable harvest weight, number of days from transplant to first bolt, and number of days from transplant to 50% bolted. In 2020, ‘Sparx’, a romaine-type lettuce, had, on average, 32% higher yield compared with the other lettuce types. In 2021 both romaine-type cultivars, Sparx and Parris Island Cos, produced 19% more marketable yield than the other lettuce cultivars. In 2020, ‘Sparx’ was the last to bolt and to reach the 50% bolted stage, whereas in 2021 ‘Mikola RG10’ and ‘Muir’ were the last cultivars to bolt and reach the 50% bolted stage. These results suggest that ‘Sparx’ would be a good potential candidate for farmers in southern New Mexico. ‘Mikola RG10’ and ‘Muir’, butterhead and green leaf type, respectively, demonstrated slower bolting in 2021, indicating they may be useful cultivars for extending lettuce harvest in New Mexico.

Open Access