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Susan C. Miyasaka, Charles E. McCulloch, Graham E. Fogg, and James R. Hollyer

Taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) is a root crop widely grown in the Tropics. To determine the optimum plot size for taro field trials, fresh and dry weights of individual corms were collected from two field trials conducted under flooded culture and two conducted under upland culture. For a given maximum test plot with a single border row surrounding inner measured plants, all possible combinations of smaller plot sizes were investigated. A plot size was defined as a given number of adjacent plants. A strong linear relationship was found between the natural logarithm of variance of yield and the natural logarithm of plot size. Expressed on the non-log-transformed scale, the point of maximum curvature in this relationship indicates a sudden decrease in advantage to larger plot sizes and is taken as optimum. Calculating maximum curvature mathematically, optimum plot size was 21 inner plants (5.7 m2) for the second flooded trial and 18 inner plants (4.9 m2) for the second upland trial. Another method of estimating optimum plot size minimized the cost per unit of research data by using the index of degree of correlation between neighboring plots. In three of four trials, the optimum plot size ranged from 16 to 24 inner plants (4.3 to 6.5 m2). In this second method, we calculated a non-linear relationship between plot size and outer border plants to estimate the fixed and per-unit cost of a single border row surrounding the inner measured plants. Both methods of calculating optimal plot size sometimes resulted in estimates that exceeded the maximum test plot size for particular field trials, indicating limitations of each method and the importance of managing field trials to ensure uniformity across treatments. No evidence of spatial autocorrelation was found in the corm yield of taro, indicating that the two methods used were adequate in calculating optimum plot size. In addition, we conducted an analysis based on statistical power but found that plot size did not materially affect the power to detect differences between treatments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of optimum plot size for field trials of taro.