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Clinton C. Shock, Erik Feibert, and Lamont D. Saunders

Onion (Allium cepa) cultivars for commercial production in eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho are evaluated annually in replicated yield trials conducted at the Malheur Experiment Station, Oregon State University, Ontario. Market demand has progressively called for larger bulb size and bulbs with single centers. At harvest onions were evaluated for maturity, number of bolters, and single centeredness. Cultivars showed a wide range of bulbs with only one growing point or “bullet” single centers, ranging from 1% to 57% in 2000, from 7% to 70% in 2001, and from 1% to 74% in 2002. The percentages of bulbs functionally single-centered for processing uses ranged from 18% to 88% in 2000, from 24.7% to 91.3% in 2001, and from 14.4% to 92% in 2002. Bulb yield and market grade were evaluated out of storage. Marketable yield after 4 months of storage varied significantly by cultivar from 643 to 1196 cwt/acre (72.1 to 134.1 Mg·ha–1) in 2000, from 538 to 980 cwt/acre (60.3 to 109.8 Mg·ha–1) in 2001, and from 583 to 1119 cwt/acre (65.3 to125.4 Mg·ha–1) in 2002. Averaging over cultivars, super colossal bulb size averaged 26%, 14%, and 10% in 2000, 2001, and 2002, respectively.

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Carrie H. Wohleb and Timothy D. Waters

cultivars that produce large bulbs with single centers (i.e., have a single growing point), because small onions and those with large multiple centers result in fewer usable rings. The WSU Onion Cultivar Trial is conducted in a different grower

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Clinton C. Shock, Erik Feibert, Lynn Jensen, S. Krishna Mohan, and Lamont D. Saunders

2000, two additional variety characteristics were evaluated: super colossal size bulbs (>4¼ inches diameter) and single-centered bulbs ( Shock et al., 2005a ). An onion bulb is single-centered when all concentric rings in the bulb end in one center

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Jagtar Singh and Christopher S. Cramer

Onion growers in New Mexico often withhold irrigation for overwintered onion varieties during the months of December and January. This study was initiated to determine if this deficit irrigation program is detrimental to onion bulb quality. Twelve short- and intermediate-day onion cultivars, which differed in their maturity, were seeded in Sept. 2004 in Las Cruces, N.M. Once plants were established, 12 plots of each cultivar were not irrigated during the months of December and January (dry treatment), while the same number of plots was irrigated during these months (wet treatment). Once a plot had 80% of the plants with tops down, all bulbs were harvested, cured, and data on date of harvesting, bulb diameter, bulb height, firmness rating, number of centers, scale number, and scale thickness of first and third fleshy layers were collected. For most of the bulb traits measured, there was no difference between the two irrigation treatments for the cultivars tested. For the earliest-maturing cultivars, bulbs grown in the dry treatment had on average more fleshy scale layers than the bulbs grown in the wet treatment. For later-maturing cultivars, bulbs grown in the dry treatment had more growing points (centers) per bulb than the bulbs grown in the wet treatment. For the latest-maturing cultivars, average fleshy scale layer thickness was greater for bulbs grown in the dry treatment. From this work, a winter deficit irrigation program appears to be detrimental to the percentage of single-center bulbs for later-maturing, autumn-sown onion cultivars.

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Christopher S. Cramer*

Heritability estimates of bolting percentage (BP), pink root (PR) and Fusarium basal rot (FBR) incidences, and percentage of single centered (PSC) bulbs were calculated for an intermediate-day, open-pollinated onion population using selection response and half-sib (HS) family analyses. BP was determined by counting the number of seedstalks per plot when the population was seeded at an earlier planting date to induce bolting. PR and FBR incidences were determined by rating 30 bulbs/plot for the severity of PR and FBR, and calculated an incidence rate from the number of infected bulbs out of 30 rated. The PSC bulbs was determined by cutting transversely 30 bulbs at the vertical center of the bulb and looking for the presence of a single growing point or multiple growing points within 1.3 cm from the center of the bulb. Families were also evaluated for bulb quality that consisted of shape, size, maturity, firmness, number of scale layers, and dry outer scale thickness, adherence, retention, and color. Families were selected based upon an index that equally weighted BP, PR and FBR incidences, PSC bulbs, and bulb quality. No progress was made for BP even though the narrow sense heritability (h2) estimate was 0.51. PR and FBR incidence was reduced by 18% and 12%, respectively, and realized heritability (RH) estimates of 0.65 and 0.60, respectively, were calculated. h2 estimates calculated through HS family analysis was 0.46 and 0.37, respectively, for these two traits. Very little progress was made for the PSC bulbs and this was reflected in a RH estimate of 0.17. However, the h2 estimate was 0.71, suggesting that progress should be possible.

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Christopher S. Cramer

Realized heritability estimates of bolting percentage, pink root and fusarium basal rot severities and incidences, and percentage of single-centered bulbs were estimated for half-sib families of an intermediate-day, open-pollinated onion (Allium cepa L.) population using selection response analysis. Half-sib families were selected based upon an index that equally weighted bolting percentage, pink root and fusarium basal rot severities and incidences, percentage of single-centered bulbs, and bulb quality. Families were subjected to one cycle of half-sib family recurrent selection. Pink root and fusarium basal rot severity was reduced by 17% and 7%, respectively, with realized heritability estimates of 1.28 and 0.65, respectively. More progress for pink root severity was made than was selected. Disease incidence was reduced by 18% and 12%, respectively, with heritability estimates of 0.65 and 0.60, respectively. Very little progress was made for the percentage of single-centered bulbs and this was reflected in a heritability estimate of 0.17. Selection based upon multiple characters at the same time may reduce the effectiveness of making improvements in a single trait. However even with low to moderate heritability, improvements were made, and suggest that further improvements can be made through selection.

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Marisa M. Wall, Ayaz Mohammad, and Joe N. Corgan

Heritabilities of the pungency and single-center traits were estimated in onion breeding lines using selection response and half-sib family analyses. Pungency was determined by measuring enzymatically produced pyruvic acid in individual bulbs. After one generation of selection, pungency was lowered by 0.37 and 0.42 μmol pyruvic acid/gram fresh weight in the breeding lines 90-61-1 and 89-69-8, respectively, and realized heritabilities of 0.21 and 0.51 were estimated. Heritability estimates calculated through half-sib progeny analysis were 0.53, 0.48, and 0.25 for pungency in the breeding lines 90-61-1, 90-62, and 89-69-8, respectively. The number of single-centered onions was increased by 19% and 22% in the lines 90-62 and 89-69-8, respectively, after one generation of selection, and the realized heritability estimates were 0.37 and 0.34, respectively.

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Harlene M. Hatterman-Valenti and Paul E. Hendrickson

Field trials were conducted to evaluate the effect of planting configurations (raised bed and no bed) and reservoir tillage on onion (Allium cepa) yield and grade when a cereal grass or cool-season broadleaf species was used as a companion crop. Total onion yield, the number of plants harvested, percentage of single centers, and cull-sized bulb yields did not differ among planting configurations. However, planting onion seed in raised beds with reservoir tillage resulted in more large-diameter bulbs compared to planting without a bed configuration. Raised beds also had fewer small-sized bulbs than the non-bed configuration. Companion crop influence on onion yield and grade varied among environments (location plus year). In general, canola (Brassica napus) as a companion crop increased the yield of small-sized bulbs and decreased total yield and the yield of large-sized bulbs. These results were attributed to poor canola control from the initial bromoxynil plus oxyfluorfen application because each label restricts application until onions have reached the two true-leaf stage. Onion yield and grade with barley (Hordeum vulgare) as a companion crop was similar to that of onion with no companion crop except during 2002 (Carrington) when rain delayed the postemergence grass herbicide application and lowered onion yield.

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Christopher S. Cramer

trials 2 and 4 were managed by the individual growing the cultivar that occupied the rest of the field. Table 1. Bulb maturity, scape production, pink root severity rating, marketable yield, average bulb weight, and percentage of single centers of ‘NuMex

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Christopher S. Cramer and Joe N. Corgan

. Table 1. Bulb maturity, marketable yield, average bulb weight, percentage of single centers, and pink root severity of ‘NuMex Fabian Garcia’ as compared with ‘Exacta’ and ‘NuMex Jose Fernandez’ when sown at the Fabian Garcia Science Center or the