2016 Early Spring LSU AgCenter Carrot Variety Trial

Kathryn Fontenot, Garner, Bruce W., Cater, Kylie, Burns, Dennis, Wallace, Whitney  |  8/30/2016 9:09:15 PM

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Carrots are an important part of the American diet. They are consumed fresh, steamed, baked, pickled and in a variety of dishes. The nutritional benefits of carrots are vast. Namely, carrots are high in vitamin A and dietary fiber. Carrots provide a number of important nutritional benefits such as lycopene, vitamin A and fiber. Depending on the color of the carrot, anthocyanins, carotenoids and other pigments act as antioxidants (Dias, 2014). Yellow carrots contain lutein, which may prevent macular degeneration (Dias 2012a and Dias 2012b).

Louisiana producers continuously strive to produce local, fresh and nutritious produce. In 2014, Louisiana vegetable producers grew 20 acres of carrots at a gross farm value of $272,000(LSU AgSummary, 2014). Carrots are planted in Louisiana in the fall and again in the early spring season. Carrots are directly sown on soil either broadcast in a bed or in double to quadruple drills on top of raised rows. There are three major classes of carrots:

  • Imperator are long slender carrots with a pointed end
  • Chantenay are short and wide carrots
  • Nantes are long but have a blunt end

All of the listed carrot types and colors (white, yellow, orange, red and purple) can be grown in Louisiana. There are numerous varieties of carrots marketed to Commercial producers and home gardeners. Therefore, the LSU AgCenter in conjunction with three local farmers selected 14 varieties to see which carrots produced the top yielding and quality carrots.

The carrot variety trial was conducted in the early spring 2016 season. Fourteen carrot varieties were grown at three locations. Participating farms included Williams Farm in Batchelor, La (Commerce silty clay loam), The Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, La (Commerce silt loam) and Covey Rise Farm in Husser, La (Toula silt loam). Carrots were directly sown in double drills on beds 48 inches wide. Individual carrot plots were 10 ft. long with 3 ft. of skip space between plots. Carrot seed was planted mid-January to early February and harvested in early May, between 95 and 108 days after sowing at each site. As carrots developed their first true leaf, they were hand thinned to one inch between plants. One square foot of carrots were harvested twice from each plot at each location. A 1ft by 1ft square was tossed randomly into each plot twice. Roots within the square were counted, weighed (pound) and measured for length (inch). Carrots were also graded. Carrots less than two inches in length, consisting of branched or twisted roots were termed unmarketable. All other carrots were termed marketable. Insect and disease pressure was not an issue in any of the three participating locations. Therefore, pesticides were not applied with the exception of pre-emergent herbicides in this study.

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