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David Wees, Philippe Seguin, Josée Boisclair, and Chloé Gendre

There is an increased interest in producing sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) in parts of eastern Canada, which are farther north and have fewer growing degree days (GDD) than traditional production regions in the southern United States. There is currently little information on cultivar selection for farmers in these northern regions. We evaluated yields and quality of 15 sweetpotato cultivars and selected lines grown with black plastic mulch but without pesticides. The best marketable yields (18–25 t·ha−1) in this trial were comparable to average marketable yields obtained in traditional sweetpotato-producing regions. Of the orange-fleshed cultivars and selected lines, Beauregard, B94-24, and Evangeline had high yields and warrant further testing. Covington, a common cultivar in North Carolina and Ontario, had poor yields in our conditions: it may require more GDD. ‘Porto Rico’ and ‘Ginseng Red’ had poor yields mainly because their storage roots were too small. The yellow-fleshed ‘Georgia Jet’ and GJ2010 had very vigorous vines and produced high yields, but had a high culling rate because of malformed or cracked storage roots. The white-fleshed ‘Murasaki-29’, ‘O’Henry’, and ‘Japanese’ also had high yields; whereas ‘White Travis’ and ‘Korean Purple’ had poor yields with small storage roots. Establishing the crop with rooted transplants instead of slips was satisfactory as long as the transplants were less than 4 weeks old. On the basis of our limited data, the following cultivars and selected lines may be suitable for Quebec, Canada: Beauregard, B94-24, Evangeline, Georgia Jet, GJ2010, and Murasaki-29. ‘Evangeline’ and ‘Covington’ had higher soluble solid contents than the other cultivars. High percent soluble solids may be desired by consumers. In spite of the absence of pesticides, very few pest or disease problems were observed except for some postharvest soft rot.

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Maude Lachapelle, Gaétan Bourgeois, Jennifer R. DeEll, Katrine A. Stewart, and Philippe Séguin

‘Honeycrisp’ is a relatively new apple cultivar highly susceptible to physiological disorders, such as soggy breakdown. The overall objective of this study was to identify preharvest weather parameters that influence the incidence of soggy breakdown over the different phases of fruit development. Using weather data and evaluation of fruit quality from three sites in Ontario, two sites in Quebec, and one site in Nova Scotia from 2009 to 2011, and data from four sites in Ontario from 2002 to 2006, a model for soggy breakdown incidence (SBI) was developed to predict the level of susceptibility in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. This model uses primarily two weather variables during the last phase of fruit development [91 days from full bloom (DFB) to harvest] to accumulate an SBI index during the growing season, from full bloom to harvest. Cool (temperature <5 °C) and wet conditions (precipitation >0.5 mm) during this last phase resulted in increased soggy breakdown susceptibility levels. The predictions of the SBI model resulted in 68% of well-estimated cases (threshold of ±5%) (RMSE = 6.45, EF = 0.28, E = −0.04). Furthermore, firmness was linked to soggy breakdown, in addition to weather conditions, revealing a positive effect of high firmness at harvest on the development of the disorder. However, the effect of fruit quality attributes (e.g., internal ethylene concentration, starch index, firmness, and soluble solid content) by themselves, without considering weather conditions, revealed no relationship with the incidence of soggy breakdown.