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  • Author or Editor: Susan L. Barkley x
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There is a research gap with respect to documenting the effects of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) seed root density and size on transplant yield and quality. Field studies were conducted in 2012 and 2014 to determine the effect of sweetpotato seed root (canner size) density [12, 24, 37, 49, 61, 73, and 85 bushels [bu (50 lb)] per 1000 ft2] on ‘Covington’ and ‘Evangeline’ slip production in propagation beds. Another field study was conducted in 2012 and 2013; treatments included canner, no. 1, and jumbo-size ‘Covington’ roots at 49 bu/1000 ft2, to determine the effect of seed root size on slip production. As seed root density increased in the propagation bed, transplant production increased with no change in slip quality as measured by node counts and slip length except for stem diameter. In 2012, the best marketable slip yield was obtained at root densities of 73 and 85 bu/1000 ft2. In 2014, marketable slip production of ‘Evangeline’ increased as seed root density increased at a greater rate than ‘Covington’. In 2014, the best seed root density for marketable slip production was 49 to 85 bu/1000 ft2 for ‘Covington’ and 85 bu/1000 ft2 for ‘Evangeline’. In 2012, potential slip revenues increased with an increase in seed root density up to 73 bu/1000 ft2. In 2014, revenue trend was similar for ‘Covington’ as 2012; however, for ‘Evangeline’, revenue was greatest at 85 bu/1000 ft2. Seed root size had no effect on marketable slip production when using a once-over harvest system. Results suggest growers would use a seed root density from 49 to 85 bu/1000 ft2 depending on variety, and any size roots for production of optimum marketable slips. Selection of optimum seed root density also depends on grower needs; e.g., high seed root density strategy will have a higher risk due to the upfront, higher seed costs, but potentially have higher profits at harvest time. Lower seed root density strategy would be a lower initial risk with a lower seed cost, but also potentially have lower net revenues.

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Studies were conducted in 2012 and 2013 to compare Evangeline to various sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties (Bayou Belle, Beauregard, Bonita, Covington, NC05-198, and Orleans) for commercial production in North Carolina. In another study, microwaved and oven-baked ‘Evangeline’ and ‘Covington’ sweetpotato roots were subjected to analysis of chemical and physical properties [color, dry matter (DM), texture, and sugar] and to sensory evaluation for determining consumer acceptance. ‘NC05-198’ produced the highest no. 1 grade sweetpotato 600 bushels [bu (50 lb)] per acre and total marketable storage root yield was similar to ‘Bayou Belle’ and ‘Beauregard’ (841, 775, and 759 bu/acre, respectively). No. 1 and marketable root yields were similar between ‘Orleans’ and ‘Beauregard’. However, ‘Orleans’ produced more uniform roots than ‘Beauregard’, in which the latter had higher cull production. ‘Evangeline’ was comparable to no. 1 yield of ‘Bayou Belle’, ‘Orleans’, and ‘Covington’, which indicates the ability of this variety to produce acceptable yields in North Carolina conditions. ‘Covington’ had slightly higher DM than ‘Evangeline’, but instrumental texture analysis showed that these varieties did not differ significantly in firmness after cooking. However, microwaved roots were measurably firmer than oven-baked roots for both varieties. In this study, ‘Evangeline’ had higher levels of fructose and glucose, with similar levels of sucrose and maltose to ‘Covington’. Consumers (n = 100) indicated no difference between varieties in their “just about right” moisture level, texture, and flavor ratings, but showed a preference for Evangeline flesh color over Covington. Consumers in this study preferred oven-baked over microwaved sweetpotato (regardless of variety) and indicated that Evangeline is as acceptable as the standard variety Covington when grown in the North Carolina environment.

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