Artichokes grow big in Texas

Dec 14, 2011
Researchers recommended best practices for irrigation and nitrogen management to help create a market for commercial artichoke operations in Texas. Credit: Photo courtesy of Daniel Leskovar

Loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, the artichoke is becoming more popular as consumer interest in specialty products swells. And while 90% of the artichokes grown in the United States come from California, growers in Texas are working to introduce globe artichokes as commercial specialty crop in their region. They say the healthy vegetable has the potential to provide new economic opportunities for regional agricultural throughout the southern U.S.

The authors of a new study say that before artichoke can be successfully established in Texas and southern regions of the U.S. where water is scarce, more information is needed about and nitrogen (N) management practices. Togo Shinohara, Shinsuke Agehara, Kil Sun Yoo, and Daniel Leskovar from Texas AgriLife Research, Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University published a study in HortScience that should give growers the tools they need to ramp up commercial artichoke operations.

"The aim of our three-season study was to determine crop yield, quality, and nutritional components of fresh artichoke heads in response to differential irrigation regimes and N fertilizer rates", said author Daniel Leskovar. "To introduce artichoke cultural practices into commercial production in water-limited regions of the southern United States, it is important to understand impact of these practices."

The scientists evaluated marketable yield, yield components, quality, and nutrient levels of artichoke heads grown under three irrigation regimes (50%, 75%, and 100% crop evapotranspiration) and four nitrogen rates (0 to 10, 60, 120, and 180 kg/ha) under subsurface drip irrigation.

Results of the field experiments showed that irrigation was more effective than N management for optimizing artichoke yield. Marketable yields significantly increased at 100% evapotranspiration (ETc) compared with 75% and 50% ETc, whereas a 20% to 35% yield reduction occurred at 50% ETc across seasons. The researchers believe that the lack of yield responses to N rates was in part the result of high pre-plant soil NO3-N and NH4-N levels.

Harvest time appeared to have the largest effect on artichoke nutritional quality, followed by deficit irrigation. "Total phenolics and chlorogenic acid of artichoke heads increased as the harvesting season progressed and were highest at 50% ETc during mid- and late harvests in one season", Leskovar noted.

The team concluded that approximately 700 mm (for a bare soil system) and approximately 350 mm (in a plasticulture system) of water inputs and 120 kg/ha or less of N appears sufficient to obtain high marketable yields, superior size, and optimal nutritional quality for production of artichokes in Texas.

The researchers hope their efforts will bridge the knowledge gap on irrigation and and help put artichoke production on the map in Texas.

Explore further: Oregon food label measure headed for recount

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/c… nt/abstract/46/3/377

Provided by American Society for Horticultural Science

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New Farming Wrinkle May Help Peanut Growers

Jan 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using a combination of conservation tillage and deficit irrigation management in peanut production can promote conservation of water during the early growing season without hurting yields, ...

Texas AgriLife Research scientists making better melons

Sep 20, 2011

With the extended statewide dry spell, researchers at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde and elsewhere have been focusing their attention on improving varieties of more drought-tolerant crops, particularly ...

Researchers develop drought-tolerant corn

Aug 25, 2008

At the end of the day, drought tolerance in corn has to equate to good yields and good quality, not just good looks, said a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.

Recommended for you

Parasitic worm genomes: largest-ever dataset released

15 hours ago

The largest collection of helminth genomic data ever assembled has been published in the new, open-access WormBase-ParaSite. Developed jointly by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, this new ...

Male sex organ distinguishes 30 millipede species

16 hours ago

The unique shapes of male sex organs have helped describe thirty new millipede species from the Great Western Woodlands in the Goldfields, the largest area of relatively undisturbed Mediterranean climate ...

How can we avoid kelp beds turning into barren grounds?

20 hours ago

Urchins are marine invertebrates that mould the biological richness of marine grounds. However, an excessive proliferation of urchins may also have severe ecological consequences on marine grounds as they ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.