Processors need broccoli with better quality traits than what is available in cultivars developed for California and Mexico fresh markets. Farmers need to reduce labor costs of broccoli production by mechanizing harvest. Most contemporary commercially available cultivars are not suitable for either mechanical harvest or processing. The objective of the OSU broccoli breeding program is to develop broccoli varieties adapted to western Oregon with suitable quality and high yields. The program operates on a one year cycle where cuttings from the field are taken into the greenhouse in the fall where they are rooted and hand crossed and self-pollinated to produce seed for the next generation. Seed is harvested in May and June and used to plant trials for fall evaluation. In 2015, nine experimental hybrids were planted in a replicated yield trial, which also included two commercial check hybrids and a new exserted commercial hybrid from Seminis.
Oregon is the second largest producer of processed green beans, and cultivars are needed that are adapted to western Oregon. The types that have traditionally been used are the bush blue lake (BBL) green beans with high yields, excellent processing quality. On the other hand, then need improvement in plant architecture, disease resistance (especially to white mold), and are genetically isolated from other green beans. The primary objective of the OSU green bean breeding program is to develop high yielding and high quality BBL green beans with high levels of white mold resistance. In 2015, a yield and processing trial of 18 advanced lines was conducted. An additional commercial trial with 27 entries was also grown and evaluated. Seven advanced lines are undergoing intense scrutiny for release as the first partially white mold resistant lines commercially available.
Prices paid for sweet corn are low relative to the cost of producing the crop, and every strategy possible must be used to maximize net return. Two strategies used to enhance profitability but that have received little research attention under Western Oregon conditions are the use of pop-up fertilizers and increased plant populations. Despite indications that popup fertilizers improve early-season growth, concrete evidence that these fertilizers ultimately enhance growth and yield are often lacking. Seeding density also can be increased to improve crop yield up to a point, but intraspecific competitive ability and the competitive stress tolerance of varieties currently produced in the Willamette Valley has not been demonstrated.
This project is evaluating interseeding of crop crops to improve cover crop establishment after late harvested crops such as sweet corn and processing squash. In Project 1 at the OSU Vegetable Research Farm, a cover crop of oat and crimson clover produced the most cover crop biomass when interseeded at V4 compared to V6 and V8 plantings but may have reduced corn yield slightly because of competition for water or nutrients. Applying Laudis herbicide immediately after interseeding of the cover crop had no impact on cover crop establishment, even when seeds were broadcast on the soil surface and incorporated lightly. Clover did not emerge well in interseeded plots, possibly because it was planted too deeply. Clover establishment was best when seed was broadcast on the soil surface and incorporated with shallow tillage. Cover crop biomass in mid-December averaged less in interseeded plots than in fall-planted plots because the oat cover crops began to senesce.
Oregon State University’s VegNet is a regional pest monitoring program that provides activity reports for 10 common insect pests that affect broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, and snap beans. Crop pests are sampled weekly and raw data is compared to activity trends from previous years. Regional pest monitoring helps growers and agricultural field representatives adjust their scouting effort when an outbreak is detected, and the combination of area-wide monitoring plus field-specific scouting reduces risk of crop loss. Reports are available on www.oregonvegetables.com, and sent via an email newsletter that currently serves over 400 subscribers. In 2015, increases in pest pressure were noted for black cutworm, spotted cucumber beetle, cabbage white butterfly, bertha armyworm, and diamondback moth.
The overall objective of this three-year project was to provide farmers with updated fertilizer recommendations for snap beans. The goal was to maximize nutrient use efficiency without compromising bean yield and quality. This was accomplished by partnering with commercial bean growers to conduct on-farm research as well as conducting trials at OSU’s Vegetable Research Farm.
The goals of this project were to determine 1) if liming controls clubroot, 2) the pH that must be attained to achieve commercially viable levels of control, and 3) how best to lime (materials, timing, incorporation strategies) to achieve that pH. Research conducted in 2014 showed that liming clubroot infected soils to a pH ≥7.1 is an effective practice for reducing both the incidence and severity of clubroot. Liming does not kill the pathogen but rather prevents disease spores from infecting the plant. In 2015 the research was focused on the relationship between disease incidence and severity when pH <7.1,better understanding when to apply lime, and how to incorporate to maximize pH change.
Urea is a common nitrogen fertilizer for sweet corn production. This two year project evaluated commercially available urea additives for their potential to provide crop production and environmental benefits. Specifically, experiments were designed to evaluate the efficacy of urea fertilizer products containing a urease inhibitor (Agrotain Ultra), or nitrification inhibitors, or a polymer coated urea product (ESN). Products containing nitrification inhibitors (SuperU and Instinct) were evaluated only in 2014, and found to have efficacy similar to ESN in slowing conversion of urea to leachable nitrate-N. The control treatment in all studies was granular urea without additives.
In recent years, several new powdered limestone products that are more finely ground (smaller particle size distribution) than products historically used have become commercially available. A major factor that influences the effectiveness of a liming material is its particle size distribution, with smaller particles reacting more quickly. Because lime efficiency estimates for various particle size fractions were established in the 1950’s, there is a need to evaluate current guidelines to determine if they adequately predict liming efficiency for these new products. The objective of this study was to assess the reactivity of commercially available powdered lime products (both calcitic and dolomitic) and various particle size fractions over a year with the goal of evaluating current OSU lime guidelines.
Despite the availability of several herbicides in table beets, weed control is still problematic. UpBeet (triflusulfuron; DuPont) was recently labeled, but the labeled timings and rate are inadequate for optimum weed control, particularly for lambsquarters. An experiment was placed at the OSU Vegetable Research Farm to determine the tolerance of 2-leaf table beets to UpBeet when applied at double the currently labeled rate of 0.5 oz/A, and to beets at the cotyledon stage at 0.5 oz/A.