New Nantes and Berlicum varieties trialled by PGRO

New carrot varieties being developed by some of the biggest seeds companies - including Rijk Zwwan, Seminis Vegetable Seeds (SVS) and Sakata - have shown promising results in independent trials carried out by the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO).

The trials on 29 Nantes and Berlicum carrot varieties were run to look at their tolerance and susceptibility to disease - in particular Alternaria infection and cavity spot - as well as characteristics such as their flavour and core separation after processing.

Varieties tested included industry standards such as Elsoms' Nairobi and Nickerson-Zwaan's Bolero and those not yet ready for commercial use - code-named "Confidential" for the purposes of the PGRO trial.

The trial was sown last May at Huntapac Produce's Warren Farm in Pocklington, Yorkshire, to test the varieties' suitability for both the processing and fresh markets.

PGRO senior technical officer Barrie Smith, who managed the project, said: "The market requires no cracking or splitting, broken pieces, blemish or cavities and diameters should be between 25mm and 40mm. Those that don't meet criteria are seen as waste."

Results of the trial showed that many of the undisclosed varieties stood up well against established varieties.

Smith said: "These trials should assist growers in making informed varietal choices. Improvements in production can be obtained from the careful choice of varieties."

The carrots were harvested on 30 November and 1 December 2009 and taken to the PGRO's base in Thornhough, near Peterborough, to be evaluated.

Samples were then taken to Premier Foods in Long Sutton, where the carrots were assessed for their processing qualities.

TEST RESULTS

- Alternaria infection Most toleratt were Zafiro, Rijk Zwaan's Confidential 8 and Clause's CL 3193.

- Yield Quite uniform across all varieties, but Elsoms Newark was best yielding, followed by Confidential 8 and Nickerson-Zwaan's Bolero.

- Processing Confidential 8, Clause's Trevor, Nunhem's Romance and Sakata's Confidential 4 were best.

- Cavity spot Inoculation with Pythium violae successful on most varieties.

- Brix SVS's RX 04472269 had the highest Brix levels.

- Best Colour Sakata's Confidential 1 followed by Sakata's Confidential 4.

- Best uniformity of colour SVS's Confidential 10, Sakata's Confidential 4 and Sakata's Confidential 1.

- Flavour Smith said: "Overall the flavour was poor this year with SVS's Confidential 10 judged the best, followed by Clause's CL 3178."

- Best overall suitability Confidential 10.


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