PhD student Rachel Lockley said: "There hasn't been a lot of research into radishes, particularly the small red European varieties, yet there can be up to a 30 per cent loss during and post-harvest due to splitting."
Her research showed that growing radishes in ground with a high water content led to a 65 per cent split rate, whereas growing them at a low level resulted in just two per cent splitting.
"Around day 17, an interesting stage known as secondary thickening occurs and this is when all pre-harvest splits happen," she said. "Water also has an effect post-harvest as it makes the radishes more susceptible to damage from dropping, puncture and crushing."
The three-year research project, run in collaboration with radish producer G's, has been funded by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC project CP 083) and concludes this year.