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Jeff L. Main and Paul G. Thompson

Three treatments were used to evaluate the effects of missing plants on sweetpotato yield: a single plant missing, two adjacent plants missing and two plants missing separated by a single plant. Individual plant yields of the four plants in the same row in each direction from the missing hill were taken. Yields were also taken from corresponding plants in the rows on each side of the row with the missing plant. A plot therefore consisted of three rows with the center row containing eight or nine plants and one or two missing hills and the other two rows containing nine to 12 plants. A single missing plant tended to increase yield of all grades of the plant in the same row next to the missing hill, but differences were nonsignificant. Two missing plants did not result in individual plant differences, but did increase overall plot yield of jumbo and cull grades. The single plant between two missing hills produced a greater number of small-sized No. 1 roots. No. 1 yield of plants in adjacent rows across from the single plant produced lower No. 1 yields.

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Jeff L. Main, Paul G. Thompson and William B. Burdine Jr.

Seedling plants from the three parents `Resisto', `Southern Delight', and `L86-33', along with three pot sizes (3.8-, 10.2-, and 17.7-cm diameters) were evaluated. Root characteristics evaluated in both the greenhouse and field included: number, length, diameter, length diameter ratio (L:D), size, skin color, flesh color, internal cambium ring (color and width), and the number of lateral and secondary roots. After greenhouse evaluation, plants were transplanted to the field. The 3.8-cm pot did not produce enough roots in the greenhouse for evaluation. In the 10.2-cm pots, greenhouse root number was correlated with the yield, root size, and L:D, and negatively correlated with skin color in the field. Flesh color was correlated with smoothness and flesh color in the field. In the 17.8-cm pots, flesh color, smoothness, and skin color in the greenhouse were correlated with the same character in the field. Skin color was also negatively correlated with smoothness in the field. No differences were found in field yield due to pot size. Results from one season showed that the 10.2-cm pot was effective for greenhouse selection of flesh color, skin color, and smoothness in seedling sweetpotato plants.

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Jeff L. Main, Paul G. Thompson, William Burdine Jr. and R. Crofton Sloan Jr.

Seventeen plant bed fertilizer treatments including different rates of N, P, and K were evaluated for the effect on plant production and sweetpotato yield. `Beauregard' storage roots were bedded. Treatments were 0, 40, 80 lb N/ac; 0, 80, 160 lb P/ac; or 0, 75, 150, and 300 lb K/ac. Each nutrient was evaluated in a separate trial. After the first cutting, half of the N treatments and all P and K treatments had 40 lb N/ac top-dressed on the beds. For the first cutting the high rate of N (80 lb/ac) had a higher green weight than the low rate of 0 lb/ac. There wer no other differences found in the first or second cuttings for plant production or yield. Plant bed fertilization also had no effect on transplant survival.

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Christopher A. Clark, Washington L. da Silva, Ramón A. Arancibia, Jeff L. Main, Jonathan R. Schultheis, Zvezdana Pesic van-Esbroeck, Chen Jiang and Joy Smith

Two distinct syndromes have emerged in some production areas that have caused losses of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) storage roots during postharvest storage: a complex of fungal rots (end rots) progressing from either end of storage roots and a necrotic reaction (internal necrosis) progressing internally from the proximal end of storage roots. This study was conducted in multiple environments to evaluate whether the use of preharvest ethephon application and storage with or without curing after harvest could be used to screen sweetpotato breeding lines for susceptibility/resistance to these two disorders. Treating vines with ethephon 2 weeks before harvest and placing harvested roots directly into storage at 60 °F without curing resulted in the greatest incidence of end rots in each state and there were significant differences in incidence among the sweetpotato genotypes evaluated. However, when ethephon was not used and roots were cured immediately after harvest, the incidence of end rots was low in all the genotypes evaluated except for one breeding line. Incidence and severity of internal necrosis were greatest when ethephon was applied preharvest and roots were cured immediately after harvest, but two cultivars, Hatteras and Covington, had significantly more internal necrosis than all others.