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James R. Cooksey, Brian A. Kahn and James E. Motes

While ethephon [(2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid] has increased yields of red fruits, its use as a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit ripening agent has been limited by premature fruit abscission and defoliation. We tested ethephon solutions of 0, 1500, 3000, 4500, and 6000 μl·liter-1 with or without 0.1M Ca(OH)2 as a one-time foliar application to field-grown paprika pepper in southwestern Oklahoma. There was a linear increase in fruit abscission with increasing ethephon rates in two out of three years, with or without added calcium. Ethephon at 6000 μl·liter-1 improved the percent of total fruit weight due lo marketable fruits in two out of three years, primarily by decreasing the weight of harvested green fruits. However, ethephon never significantly increased the dry weight of harvested marketable fruits over that obtained from the control. There also was no effect of ethephon on the intensity of red pigment extracted from dehydrated marketable fruits. The only significant effect of Ca(OH)2 was an undesirable increase in the retention of green fruits on the plants. Ethephon had little value as a fruit ripening agent for paprika under the conditions of our studies, and Ca(OH)2 was not useful as an additive to ethephon sprays.

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Brian A. Kahn, James R. Cooksey and James E. Motes

Raw seed, primed seed, and transplants were compared for effects on stand establishment, plant morphology, and yield of paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Raw seed seemed satisfactory for stand establishment, although primed seed had the potential to provide better initial stands. When populations were equalized, there were few differences in plant growth, plant morphology, or fruit yield attributed to seed treatment. Morphology of plants established by direct seeding generally was favorable for mechanical harvest. Use of transplants did not result in higher marketable fruit yields than direct seeding in two out of three years. When compared to plants established by direct seeding, three trends were consistent across all three years for plants established by transplanting: a) they were more massive: b) they had larger vertical fruiting planes: and c) they had more branches. These traits would increase the difficulty of mechanical harvest and would create the potential for more trash in the harvested product. Thus, transplanting is not recommended for stand establishment of paprika intended for mechanical harvest.

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James R. Cooksey, Brian A. Kahn and James E. Motes

Nontreated seed, primed seed, and transplants were compared for effects on stand establishment, plant morphology, and yield of paprika pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Nontreated seed was satisfactory for stand establishment, although primed seed had the potential to provide greater initial stands. When populations were made equal by thinning, there were few differences in stem and leaf dry weight, fruit yield, or plant morphology attributed to seed treatment. Generally, morphology of plants established by direct seeding was favorable for mechanical harvest. Using transplants did not result in higher marketable fruit yields than direct seeding in 2 of 3 years. When compared to plants established by direct seeding, three trends were consistent across all 3 years for plants established by transplanting: 1) they were more massive, 2) they had larger vertical fruiting planes, and 3) they had more branches. These traits increase the difficulty of mechanical harvest and create the potential for more leaves and stems (trash) in the harvested product. Thus, transplanting is not recommended for stand establishment of paprika pepper intended for mechanical harvest.

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James R. Cooksey, James E. Motes and Brian A. Kahn

Ethephon has increased yields of red fruit, but its use as a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit ripening agent has been limited by premature fruit abscission and defoliation. We tested ethephon solutions of 0,1500,3000,4500, and 6000 μl·liter-1 with or without 0.1 m Ca(OH)2 as a onetime foliar application to field-grown paprika pepper in southwestern Oklahoma. There was a linear increase in fruit abscission with increasing ethephon rates in 2 of 3 years, with or without added Ca. Marketable fruit as a percentage of total harvested fruit weight was improved by ethephon at 6000 μl·liter-1 in 2 of 3 years, primarily due to a decrease in weight of harvested green fruit. However, ethephon never significantly increased the dry weight of harvested marketable fruit over that obtained from the control. There also was no effect of ethephon on the intensity of red pigment extracted from dehydrated marketable fruit. The only consistently significant effect of Ca(OH)2 was an undesirable increase in the retention of green fruit on the plants. Ethephon had little value as a fruit-ripening agent for paprika pepper under the conditions of our studies, and Ca(OH)2 was not useful as an additive to ethephon sprays. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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Brian A. Kahn, Peter J. Stoffella, Daniel I. Leskovar and James R. Cooksey

Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] planters can produce variable within-row seed spacing. We determined whether precision planting of cowpea would produce a yield advantage over more random planting at the same rate. Studies were conducted from May 1992 to Feb. 1993 at three locations: Uvalde, Texas; Bixby, Okla.; and Fort Pierce, Fla. Seeds of the indeterminate, small-vine cowpea cultivars Mississippi Silver and Pinkeye Purplehull BVR were hand-planted at 42 per 3.15 m of row. Seeds within rows were either spaced uniformly at 7.5 cm [control, with sd = 0] or in one of two random sequences (sd = 4.8). At harvest, in Oklahoma and Florida, mean within-row spacings were similar, but sd values of random-sequence plots remained greater than those of control plots. Control plots averaged four more plants at harvest than random-sequence plots in Texas. However, seed yield (seed dry weight per hectare) and harvest index were unaffected by uniformity of within-row spacing at all three locations. Thus, precision seeding of indeterminate, small-vine cowpea cultivars seems unlikely to produce a yield advantage over more random planting at the same rate.