Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial Report: Get the latest on vegetable variety performance

Vegetable growers are always looking for improved varieties. Several Midwest land grant universities annually publish variety trial results. Results from the 2014 trials are now available.

Commercial vegetable seed companies are in a continual – and competitive – process of developing new varieties. Newer varieties will have one or multiple advantages over current industry standards. These improvements are often for yield qualities either in earliness, total yield, higher pack out of number one fruit or more fruit of a desired size. More recently, improvements have been made in pest resistance, primarily in the area of disease tolerance.

Before new varieties are released for general production they are extensively tested against current, standard varieties. These test trials are initially conducted by the developing company, but the company eventually submits their recently developed hybrids for further testing to several independent sources such as publicly funded universities. Trials for Michigan are conducted by Michigan State University Extension, generally at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Vegetable crops that are routinely evaluated at SWMREC include slicing cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash and zucchini. However, other crops have been evaluated as well, including sweet onions, garlic, potatoes and others. In 2014, a pickling cucumber trial was conducted at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Each year Purdue University Extension compiles vegetable variety trial results from across the Midwest region, including Michigan, and publishes them in the Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial Report. In 2001, the publication went from a hard copy to an online accessible file. The 2014 report is now available at the Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial Report website. At this site you will be able to see reports from 2001 to 2014.

So if you are a vegetable grower wanting to know what is new and available and what might be worth planting, spend a little online time to check out this report. The 2014 edition has results from 30 trials on 13 different crops.

If you have further questions concerning commercial vegetable production, contact your local MSU Extension office or Ron Goldy at goldy@anr.msu.edu.

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