Assessing different varieties of beets and swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) for local crop production by considering establishment, yield, and leaf spot diseases

Taylor Warner


Finding crop varieties that are resistant to local pests and diseases would be an incredible accomplishment that would considerably help local farmers. A natural resistance to these problems would allow for less use of chemicals on the crops that we consume as well as an increase in yield for the farmers. At the Agronomy Farm at URI during the summer of 2020, different varieties of beets and swiss chard were planted by seed to assess their establishment in the field, yield during harvest, and their resistance or tolerance to certain leaf spot diseases. The varieties from this summer had a difficult time with establishment and in turn a low yield as well. I think it would be beneficial for future trials to seed their crops in trays or flats in a greenhouse and then transplant them into the field so their likeliness of success and hopefully an increase in yield is much greater. This summer was especially challenging due to the drought as well as experiencing high temperatures and high humidity. It is critical to continue evaluating different varieties of vegetables so that the local farming economy can continue thrive and grow. This trial may have been unsuccessful but that just shows that there is more to be done in order to find pathogen resistant crops that are able to yield in higher quantities and better qualities.