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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomato Variety Trial

Stiles Farm Foundation, 2010
Bob Whitney and Archie Abrameit
Williamson County

Summary: The population of Texas continues to grow but the majority of that growth is centered along the I35 corridor. Latest population estimates show Travis County with 921,000 people, Williamson County with 354,000 people and Bell County with a population of 258,000. This puts Williamson County with its rich soil and moderate climate in the middle of one and half million people, all who eat and want lots of good food every day. Recent trends in the US point to more and more consumption of locally grown food products and at the top of the list is a desire to buy locally grown vegetables, fruits and nuts. Farmer's Market interest is at an all time high and more and more cities want a Farmers Market for their citizens. The local community supports the growth of small farm agriculture that supplies nutritious and healthy, locally grown farm products.

Because of this interest there are more growers and these growers want information to make informed decisions on varieties, fertility, irrigation, harvest and more. This test evaluated 19 popular and new tomato varieties.

Objective: To evaluate 19 tomato varieties for vigor and fruit set.

Materials and Methods: The Stiles Farm Foundation is a typical blackland soil and the test was planted in a Sunev series. PH of the site is 8.0; Nitrate was 15 ppm, 63 ppm P and 336 ppm K. Site was prepared in March. Beds were fertilized with 100 pounds of 21-0-0-24 in March and incorporated. Transplants were put in the beds on April 8. Varieties were planted 4 plants to a rep with 2 total reps per variety for a total of 8 plants. Spacing was 2.5 feet in the row and rows were 8 feet apart. Planting pattern is outlined in Table 1. Plants were drip irrigated on timed irrigations.

Table 1.
Row 1                         Row 2

No. Variety                No. Variety
1 Christy                   11 BHN 685
2 Celebrity                8 BHN 968
3 Solar Fire              15 Sunstart
4 Applause              10 Katana
5 BHN 0941           12 Phoenix
6 Tycoon                 13 Belle Rosa
7 BHN 602             16 Tygress
8 BHN 968              3 Solar Fire
9 Tomasin                18 Heatwave Select
10 Katana                14 Sunshine
11 BHN 685            19 Sun Pride
12 Phoenix                1 Christy
13 Belle Rosa            17 BHN 0944
14 Sunshine               4 Applause
15 Sunstart                 6 Tycoon
16 Tygress                 5 BHN 0941
17 BHN 0944           7 BHN 602
18 Heatwave Select   2 Celebrity
19 Sun Pride              9 Tomasin



Results:

Table 2. Vigor and Fruit Set of 19 Tomato Varieties, 2010.

No. Variety                    Vigor       Fruit Set

1 Christy                            5             5
2 Celebrity                        8               7.5
3 Solar Fire                       6.5              8
4 Applause                        2.5             7
5 BHN 0941                      6              4
6 Tycoon                           5.5             5.5
7 BHN 602                       6.5             7
8 BHN 968                       6         8.5
9 Tomasin                        6         6.5
10 Katana                       7        7.5
11 BHN 685                 7.5        7
12 Phoenix                   5.5         7.5
13 Belle Rosa               5.5        7.5
14 Sunshine                    4       8.5
15 Sunstart                    2.5       7
16 Tygress                      7     7.5
17 BHN 0944                7    5.5
18 Heatwave Select      5.5    6.5
19 Sun Pride                   8        8

Scale is 1-10 with 10 being best. Ratings made on 6-15-10 on both replications and the results averaged.

Acknowledgments: A big thanks to Dr. Larry Stein who worked with Lone Star Growers to grow the transplants and then ship them out to counties for testing.

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