Building a Better Carrot
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Poland Plays Host to Carrot Conference Crop Protection Essentials
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www.carrotcountry.com Carrot Country Contacts Editor Denise Keller
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Vol. 27, No. 1
In This Issue:
Director of Operations Brian Feist brian@ColumbiaMediaGroup.com
EDITORIAL INFORMATION Carrot Country is interested in newsworthy material related to carrot production and marketing. Contributions from all segments of the industry are welcome. Submit news releases, new product submissions, stories and photos via email to: editor@ColumbiaMediaGroup.com, or call (509) 697-9436.
Building a Better Carrot
Organic Carrot Breeding Delivers Novel Varieties, Cutting-Edge Research
Poland Plays Host to Carrot Conference
ISHS Carrot and Other Apiaceae Symposium
12 Crop Protection Essentials Buyers’ Guide
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Carrot Country magazine (ISSN 1071-6653), is published quarterly and mailed under permit #410, paid at San Dimas, CA 91773. It is produced by Columbia Media Group PO Box 333, Roberts, ID, 83444. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose without the express written permission of Columbia Media Group. For information on reprints call (208) 520-6461.
Samples are prepared for attendees of a “Japanese vegetable sommelier” session held during the ISHS Carrot and Other Apiaceae Symposium in Krakow, Poland. See the story on page 8.
On the Cover: This novel colored carrot with a redpurple exterior and yellow-purple core is an example of the diversity of carrot breeding lines evaluated in trials of the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture collaborative. See the story on page 4. Photo courtesy Organic Seed Alliance
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Building a Better Carrot Organic Carrot Breeding Delivers Novel Varieties, Cutting-Edge Research By Kristina Hubbard, Director of Advocacy and Communications, Organic Seed Alliance
he U.S. organic industry continues to grow, with sales of organic food reaching $45 billion in 2017 and the number of organic farms estimated at over 14,200, an 11 percent increase in one year. Organic carrots increasingly make up a larger share of overall carrot production; 14 percent of the estimated 100,000 acres of carrots grown in the U.S. are certified organic, compared to 3 percent of total vegetables grown organically. Growing carrots organically isn’t easy, however, given the extensiveness of major diseases and pests and the cost of managing weeds. More than 80 percent of U.S. carrot acreage is infested with one or more of the most common pests or diseases: root-knot nematodes, Alternaria leaf blight, and other foliar and storage diseases, such as cavity spot. The future of organic carrots, therefore, relies on the development of effective, non-chemical methods for addressing these challenges, including managing weeds in this slow-toestablish crop. “Organic farming takes a whole-systems approach to addressing plant nutrition and challenging weeds, diseases and pests,” says Micaela Colley, program director for Organic Seed Alliance. “In important ways, organic growers rely on the genetic characteristics of the seed they plant even more than other growers, since most pesticides and fertilizers are not allowed under organic regulations.” “That’s where plant breeding comes in,” Colley adds.
Micaela Colley, program director for Organic Seed Alliance, reviews carrot variety trials in El Centro, Calif.
Seed provides growers the genetic tools to confront day-to-day challenges in the field, and breeding plants in the environment of their intended use – in this case, under organic conditions – can yield many benefits. Enter the Carrot
Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project, a multi-regional plant breeding collaboration between the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue University, University of California – Riverside, Organic Seed Alliance and Washington State University. It is the first publicly funded organic carrot breeding project in the U.S., and the USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant program recently awarded the project a second round of four-year funding. Philipp Simon is the coordinator of CIOA and has been breeding carrots for 40 years. He holds a joint position with USDA-ARS and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s horticulture department. Simon has learned a lot in the last decade about the needs of organic carrot growers and how CIOA can turn their production challenges into breeding opportunities. To that end, CIOA’s main goal is to develop orange and novel colored carrots with improved disease and nematode resistance, improved weed competitiveness, and better nutrition and flavor. That’s quite the genetic package, but progress toward releasing new varieties has been efficient – and relatively quick – thanks to the project’s variety trial network that expands across the U.S. In 2018, CIOA variety trial sites were located in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont and Virginia. Each site tested a different mix of 34 promising advanced breeding populations. These are varieties that are nearly uniform enough to release commercially. Simon is especially excited to see more evidence that the most important traits are “fixed.” This means that from general appearance to disease resistance to flavor, CIOA partners are finding that the varieties in development are performing relatively similar across trial locations. “From a breeding standpoint, the process of putting together the right combination of traits and then having them reliably expressed across regions is so important,” Simon explains. “CIOA’s extensive trialing network is providing us more confidence
Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture partners Philipp Simon and Micaela Colley evaluate carrot variety trials in El Centro, Calif.
A Better Carrot that certain traits will express in varying environments, allowing us to accurately report just how well the overall varieties perform in different regions across the U.S.”
Simon says that two traits in particular are worth noting: top size and nematode resistance. Research shows that carrots with bigger tops help suppress weeds, a costly production challenge for all carrot growers, not just organic. CIOA breeders have had success in incorporating this trait into breeding lines to support better weed competition. CIOA is also having success in breeding orange and novel colored carrots that demonstrate resistance to the two major species of root knot nematodes, tiny roundworms not visible to the naked eye. Nematodes live in soil and feed on plants,
leading to malformed, stubby and hairy roots, and tougher skin and lower yield. Furthermore, growers who aren’t organic are losing access to chemical fumigant and spray controls, making breeding for resistance that much more important to the entire industry. CIOA’s research is contributing to emerging science regarding beneficial microbe associations with crops, as well. Plants, including carrots, associate with a diverse assemblage of microbes living on the surface and within plant tissues, which is now commonly called the plant microbiome. Some of these microbes have the potential to help plants acquire nutrients and withstand biotic and abiotic stress, so identifying factors that affect their recruitment and survival is important to optimizing plant growth. CIOA partner Lori Hoagland and her research team at Purdue University have
The Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture project will soon release new colored carrot varieties that were bred under organic farming conditions. Pictured are carrots in a variety trial conducted in El Centro, Calif.
determined that a carrot’s genotype plays a small, though significant, role in shaping these beneficial endophyte communities, indicating it may be possible to select varieties that are more apt to recruit them from soil. Other studies are underway to determine if researchers can identify differences in carrot genotypes in how they interact with soil microbes to facilitate organic matter decomposition, which could be important for managing organic nutrients.
The Big Picture
The CIOA project team takes a participatory approach to plant breeding, where farmers, formal plant breeders, and members of the seed and food industry collaborate on setting project priorities and evaluating the results. Evaluations have also closely involved consumers of organic carrots to ensure that breeding projects not only meet the needs of growers with traits like disease resistance, but also meet the expectations of the market. Not surprisingly, flavor and nutritional content are of top priority to consumers of organic carrots. CIOA hosted seven variety tastings in 2017 and 2018 to gather feedback on its projects from consumers, focusing on flavor, texture, color and appearance. This feedback is evaluated and then informs breeding decisions moving forward. Novel colored carrots – yellow, red and purple – are increasingly popular among consumers and chefs, yet they’re in need of serious breeding attention. Much of the colored carrot germplasm collection hasn’t been improved for, or even tested in, organic systems. One exciting finding is that within this collection is the expression of important traits, including large tops, bolt resistance and vigorous seedling growth. CIOA breeders are improving this material to also include disease and pest resistance characteristics as well as good flavor and nutritional value. For example, breeders are testing CIOA carrots for their level of carotenoids and anthocyanins (both are naturally occurring pigments that offer health benefits), among other nutritional elements. The CIOA project takes a classical approach to carrot breeding, starting with intercrosses to combine traits from two breeding stocks in one offspring
Organic Seed Alliance’s Laurie McKenzie and USDA-ARS and University of WisconsinMadison’s Philipp Simon discuss organic carrot variety trials in El Centro, Calif., as part of the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture project.
population. So, for example, breeders may intercross breeding stock with good flavor and an unrelated nematode resistant carrot, to develop a new breeding line with both good flavor and nematode resistance. As CIOA breeders develop DNA markers to track genes controlling these traits in carrots, the five- to 10-year process of combining traits will be be reduced. That is good news because carrot growers and consumers are interested in improvements for many traits.
Columbia, as well as to the organic seed industry. These lines support the breeding work of others, resulting in even more improved varieties entering the marketplace. CIOA’s intent is for the products of their work to remain in the public domain: free of intellectual property rights that restrict the ability of farmers and breeders to freely operate. CIOA believes it’s important that everyone have continued access to use and further develop these new varieties and breeding lines that were supported through public funding. CIOA partners also hope new varieties coming out of their project will be produced organically and successfully commercialized to help organic operations meet the requirement to use certified organic seed when available. Although gaps remain in the organic seed supply, availability in organic seed has expanded tremendously over the last 15 years. Organic plant breeding has played an important role in this growth to ensure that more diverse organic seed options are available – and it will continue to play a meaningful role.
Congress recently passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which more than doubles the amount of research funding available to the USDA’s OREI program, CIOA’s funding source. By 2023, $50 million will be available each year to support research that benefits existing organic growers as well as transitioning growers who face a steep learning curve when adopting organic practices. Because organic research often focuses on soil health and alternative pest and disease management, the results benefit all farmers — not just organic. “One of the long-term impacts of CIOA – and of publicly funded organic research, in general – is that graduate students working on this project are developing expertise in organic systems,” Colley says. “They represent the next generation of plant breeders and agricultural researchers. And the demand for and interest in organic farming is only growing.” For more information, visit www.seedalliance.org.
Philipp Simon, coordinator of the Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture project, harvests carrot trials in El Centro, Calif.
Simon says one challenge the project has encountered is finding suitable carrots for the Southeast region, where the subtropical climate proves difficult for production. But trials in Virginia, and in the tropical climate of Hawaii, have provided promising leads on which material is worth pursuing as part of CIOA’s breeding work. They hope to identify even more material in 2019 to help meet this need. For now, CIOA is poised to release several varieties adapted across geographical regions in the U.S. Project partners plan to release at least half a dozen varieties within the next two years, including a purple-orange carrot and some red varieties. Reds are of special interest to organic growers, who report having limited options that have good flavor. CIOA has already released some breeding lines with exceptional nematode resistance to other breeders, including a carrot breeding collaborative in British CarrotCountry.com
Poland Plays Host to Carrot Conference W
ith the carrot reference genome published, the new possibilities it provides dominated much of the discussion at the 2nd ISHS Carrot and Other Apiaceae Symposium, held last fall in Krakow, Poland. Other sessions covered growing challenges including cultivation, crop protection, post-harvest technologies and quality. This conference follows the first International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) symposium, held in Angers, France, in 2014. The meetings are meant to bring the most recent scientific findings and technical advances to the carrot and Apiaceae industry. This most recent symposium attracted approximately 350 participants, including researchers, breeders, growers, policy makers and others in the carrot industry, from 44 countries. The four-day event was packed with more than 60 oral and poster presentations on the most recent research results and technical advancements in carrot and Apiaceae.
A panel of speakers fields questions during the ISHS Carrot and Other Apiaceae Symposium.
Researchers, breeders and growers from 44 countries gather in Krakow, Poland, for the ISHS Carrot and Other Apiaceae Symposium.
Philipp Simon with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and USDA-ARS spoke during the opening session, delivering a presentation titled “Carrot Genome and Beyond.” He outlined current major issues, providing strong foundations for the rest of the symposium. Additional lectures from scientists and experts reviewed the state of the art in carrot genetic resources, biotechnology, breeding, crop management and protection. Matthew Nelson with Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, spoke about new genetic and adaptive diversity for carrot improvement. Irwin Goldman with the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported on the breeding efforts taking place at the university over the last few decades, aiming at improved quality, productivity and accessibility in processing. Emmanuel Geoffriau, an ISHS representative, gave a talk on progress and challenges for carrot breeding and production. The team from Vilmorin-Mikado tackled topics related to carrot breeding. Taro Takagi spoke about carrot breeding for health benefits, and Michaela Hundertmark-Bertaud added to the discussion with information about vigor tests vs. carrot stand establishment in field trials. Laure Barrot provided a lecture on the control of carrot nematode Heterodera carotae by a resistant genotype. Speakers from the University of Agriculture in Krakow (URK) rounded out the agenda. Ewa Grzebelus spoke about applications of protoplast cultures in Apiaceae, and Rafał Barański gave an overview of the advances in carrot genome editing using CRISPRbased systems.
Phil Simon with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and USDA-ARS delivers a presentation about “the carrot genome and beyond.”
Poland Symposium Lectures in the symposiumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three technical sessions focused on cultivation and post-harvest techniques, crop protection, and food chain and logistics. The three scientific sessions focused on genetics, genomics, phylogeny, diversity, domestication and stress resistances in carrot and other Apiaceae. The final day of the conference included various tour options. Attendees could visit the Amplus company, a Polish producer and distributor of fruits and vegetables; the Sielec Kolonia cooperative, where carrot demonstration plots were located; and the laboratories of the Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, (URK). Finally, all symposium participants enjoyed Carrot Expo at the Krakow-Mydlniki URK campus, where a collection of carrot cultivars was presented.
Gold Nugget F1 is on display at the field day.
Emmanuel Geoffriau, an International Society for Horticultural Science representative, (center) examines Vilmorin-Mikadoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gold Nugget F1.
Vilmorin-Mikado displays one of its orange carrot cultivars.
Field day attendees check out carrot varieties on display.
United Fresh 2019 Chicago, Ill. www.unitedfresh.org
PMA Fresh Summit Convention and Expo Anaheim, Calif. www.freshsummit.com
Editor’s note: To have your event listed, please email: Denise Keller editor@ColumbiaMediaGroup.com
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Crop Protection Essentials Buyers’ Guide Certis USA BoteGHA
BoteGHA ES is a new biological insecticide that features the highly effective entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana strain GHA. BoteGHA controls a wide range of difficult-to-control soft-bodied insects, including psyllids, whiteflies, thrips, aphids and mites. BoteGHA is formulated to provide growers with a stable shelf-life of 18 months. The nontoxic mode of action of BoteGHA presents low risk to applicators and handlers and is considered safe on beneficial species and the environment. BoteGHA is exempt from residue tolerance with no pre-harvest interval (PHI) requirements or maximum residue limits (MRLs) and carries the minimum allowed restricted entry interval (REI) of four hours.
Sectagon-42 soil fumigant is an important tool for producing highquality, high-value carrot crops. Recent research has uncovered useful, new insights into best use practices for this product. When controlling soil-borne pests is key, Sectagon-42 (metam sodium) provides effective, economical suppression of weeds, diseases and nematodes. These soil pests can build up over time and rob fields of their full yield potential. Sectagon-42 has a proven track record of suppressing these yield-compromising pests, helping to optimize quality and profits. Sectagon-42 can be applied using soil injection, soil bedding or chemigation methods.
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Carrot roots benefit greatly from soil fumigation with chloropicrin. All plants benefit from a healthy root system, but in the case of carrot roots, the root is also a usable product of the plant. Ensuring that soil is free of pests and pathogens will directly increase crop yield and overall profit. Research and on-farm trials have demonstrated the wide-spectrum of fungal pathogens, bacterial pathogens and plant parasitic nematodes suppressed by soil formulations. There are many reasons for low soil microbial activity and “tired soils” including mono-cropping and/or short rotations, soil-borne disease build-up and harsh chemistries. Chloropicrin suppresses pests and disease, promotes the growth of plant beneficial soil organisms and reboots saprophytic microbial activity in the soil, re-starting sustainable production. Over time, it can build the physical, chemical and biological components of the soil. Chloropicrin helps develop healthy soils. Healthy fields equal healthy yields. 12
In the News AMVAC Parent Company Celebrates 50 Years
American Vanguard Corporation, parent company to AMVAC Chemical Corporation, is celebrating 50 years in business. American Vanguard Corporation started in 1969 as a regional contract manufacturer of agricultural chemicals and has grown over the last five decades to a fully integrated producer of branded specialty products. The corporation is the holding company for eight umbrella brands, including AMVAC, which develops, manufactures and markets agricultural and commercial products for crop protection, among other uses. AMVAC operates four manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Future plans include expansion through acquisitions and organic growth, according to AMVAC.
APE Picks up New Supplier
Automated Produce Equipment (APE) has a new alliance with CMI Equipment and Engineering. CMI is a metal fabrication company specializing in manufacturing industrial food processing equipment. Located in Minnesota, the company fabricates conventional and specialized equipment including carrot cutters available as a single unit, two-headed unit or four-headed unit. Users can expect the machines to average 20 strokes per minute.
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Simon is stepping up marketing efforts for its new range of soil steam disinfection machines. The company is recommending its Steam’R line for use in any crop, including carrots, especially in organic production. The Steam’R machine is described as being equipped with the latest generation boilers, combining thermal performance with high efficiency. This is due to the use of superheated steam, which optimizes transport of the steam to the steam plates without resulting in excessive fuel consumption, according to the manufacturer. The design of the steam plates is said to ensure optimal distribution of steam across the entire surface and depth of the area to be treated. The Steam’R has a small turning radius. It also stops automatically when the job is done or when a problem is detected. Visit www.machines-simon.com.
New Fungicide Receives EPA Approval The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put its stamp of approval on AZteroid FC 3.3 fungicide, a new higher concentration formulation of Vive Crop Protection’s AZteroid FC fungicide. In carrots, it is used to manage Rhizoctonia damping off, Alternaria and Cercospora leaf blights, Cercospora leaf spots, powdery mildew and white mold. AZteroid FC 3.3 has twice the concentration of its predecessor. Both fungicides use nanotechnology to allow active ingredients to mix well with liquid fertilizer, other chemicals, micronutrients and hard water, according to the company. Visit www.vivecrop.com.
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EPA Approves Bio-Insecticide The EPA has approved Vestaron Corporation’s SpearLep bio-insecticide for control of lepidopterans in crops including carrots. The company describes Spear-Lep as a peptide-based, sustainable bio-pesticide. Spear products have a zero-day pre-harvest interval and are designed to be non-toxic to beneficial insects. Full commercial availability of the product is expected early this year. Visit www.vestaron.com.
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