Overwinter Cauliflower Variety Trial, 1982-1983

This was the fourth and last of the series of variety trials and focused on mid-maturity varieties to determine those with the best combination of yield and quality. The previous trials had established that the best quality is obtained with varieties maturing in April and early May.

The trial was seeded on July 27, and transplanted on September 3, 1982. On February 16, 1983, 35 pounds N/acre as ammonium sulfate, 40 pounds N/acre as calcium nitrate, and 100 pounds/acre of 0-45-0 was sidedressed. An additional 75 pounds N/acre as ammonium nitrate was applied on March 14.

The 1982-83 winter was unusually mild. Plants made good growth but curd tended to form before plants achieved maximum size. Winterkill was insignificant. Peak harvests averaged one to two weeks earlier than the average for the previous five years and three weeks earlier than in 1982.

The earliest variety was Tolteca. Harvest was very concentrated and the percentage of grade #1 heads (no defects) was low because of yellow, fuzzy curds and green stems.

Of the remaining eight varieties, highest gross yields were obtained with Arminda, Armado May, and Maya; highest yield of #1 heads was obtained with Markanta; the highest percentage of #1 heads was obtained with Markanta, Armado April, and Inca (Table 10). In all trials to date, this was by far the best performance of the variety Markanta. This variety often has leaves in the curd but this was not a problem in 1983. Averaged over four trials, the most consistent varieties have been Armado April (early), Inca (early), Maya (late) and Arminda (late). Curd quality of some varieties was below average because of slug damage and a higher than normal incidence of diseases. Notes on causes of poor curd quality are found in Table 11.

Table 10. Yield and source of overwinter cauliflower varieties, 1983                                            Mean wt.                  Yield of                 Harvest range     of #1 heads  Gross yield  #1 heads     % #1   Variety       First Peak  Last   (pounds)     (tons/acre) (tons/acre)   heads   Tolteca       3/11  3/11  3/14    2.2           6.2          3.0         46  Marchpast     3/21  3/24  4/01    1.5           7.9          3.7         53   Armado April  3/21  3/28  4/04    1.4           6.7          4.5         69   Inca          3/24  3/28  4/04    1.6           6.3          4.9         64   Armado May    4/01  4/08  4/19    2.0           7.8          4.5         47   Markanta      4/01  4/15  4/15    1.9           7.9          6.5         71   Aprilex       4/01  4/15  4/19    1.9           8.3          4.3         47   Armado Clio   4/12  4/19  4/22    1.2           5.6          3.6         60   Mirado        4/12  4/22  4/22    1.1           4.6          2.1         40  Arminda       4/15  4/22  4/22    2.6          12.9          4.9         38  Maya          4/19  4/19  4/26    1.8           8.3          3.9         44           Table 11. Coments on overwinter cauliflower varieties, 1983                      Variety	   Source   Comments                                                   	  Aprilex          3Z     Low to medium vigor, upright leaves, good cover;                            but half of heads had yellow curd.  Armado April     3	Medium vigor, upright leaves, good cover. Twenty-five                           percent of heads had yellow curd.  Armado Clio      1	Medium vigor, fairly good cover. One-third of heads                           with yellow curd.  Armado May       2      Variable plant growth: some tall and upright,others low                            and spreading. Some yellow curd, some bracts in curd.   Arminda          1	Medium to high vigor, upright leaves. Majority of                             heads yellow and/or brown spotting (disease or slug                            damage).                         Inca             2	Low growing, lots of leaves, but only fair cover, tends                           to open. Some bracts in curd.  Marchpast        3	Sprawling, medium to high vigor, fairly good cover.                           Yellow curd on nearly half of heads.  Markanta         3	Low vigor, sprawling, but good cover. Some yellow curd                           and some leaves in curd.  Maya             2	Medium-low vigor, good cover, one-third of heads with                           yellow curd. Some leaves in curd.  Mirado           1	Tall, upright, sparse stovepipe. Conical curds and                           majority of plants had yellow curd.  Tolteca          2        Medium vigor. Fuzzy, yellow curd. Green stems.         Z1 = Royal Sluis, 2 = Bejo Zaden, 3 = Elsoms.