Results of the 2013 Bell Pepper Cultivar Demonstration Plots
Kathryn Fontenot, Ph.D., and Charles Johnson, Ph.D.
School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences
Bell peppers are a popular crop grown in south Louisiana. Most bell peppers are harvested green. As peppers mature they turn colors. Most often red, orange and yellow. However, with maturity come blemished spots from disease and insect damage. South Louisiana’s climate is not very favorable to growing bell peppers that fully mature into colored peppers on the vine. Over the past few years the LSU AgCenter has conducted demonstration plots growing bell peppers to determine which varieties color up the best in our climate. In spring 2013 16 varieties were grown at Burden Center in Baton Rouge, La. Select varieties included yield data.
Pepper transplants were planted into the field on April 2, 2013. Cool weather stunted growth throughout much of the beginning of the growing season. The field was fertilized with 8-24-24 prior to planting at a rate equivalent to 600 lbs/acre).
Peppers were grown on aluminum-coated plastic mulch with drip irrigation. Irrigation was applied daily for 30 minutes. Irrigation schedules vary from farm to farm depending on soil type.
Dual herbicide was applied to control weed infestation in row middles.
Peppers were sidedressed weekly from bloom initiation for 5 weeks, alternating between calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate.
PCNB was applied as a drench at the beginning of the season to prevent southern blight infestation.
Peppers were placed on a weekly fungicide spray schedule. Insecticides were used as needed. All chemicals were applied at recommended rates as labeled in the southeastern United States.
Vegetable Crop Handbook. Fertilizer rates were applied at recommended rates in the Louisiana Commercial Vegetable Production Guide.
Peppers were single drilled and planted at 18-inch spacings within the row. Three replications of each variety were planted, 11 plants within each replication. A skip row was left between every two planted rows to obtain optimum spray coverage when applying chemicals.
Harvest data was collected for 5 weeks during peak production to capture total yield for all peppers. Yield included marketable and unmarketable fruit and was sorted with weights recorded separately. The top 3 producing peppers were PSO9941819 X5R from Twilley Seed with 84% marketable yields, Red Bull from Tomato Growers Supply with 78% marketable yields and Flavorburst from Johnny’s with 91% marketable yields.
PSO9941819 X5R was the top-yielding pepper and a very nice blocky pepper, but it did not color up very well. Red Bull had better color, but only 78% of total yield was marketable. Flavorburst was an excellent yellow pepper with 91% being marketable. This one we liked. Blushing beauty was a beautiful pepper, but only 62% was marketable. We recommend Bianca over this one if you are looking for a coral-colored pepper; 81% of Biancas were marketable. Each year Gypsy has done well, reaching mature color while still on the vine. Good as Gold did not resemble a sweet pepper but became a beautiful dark orange while on the vine.
General comments on each variety are provided in the table attached. Please note pounds per acre are estimated based on yields in our trial. Assume each acre is planted, skipping every third row for ease of spraying, with peppers single drilled on 18-inch centers within rows. See attached photos for pepper pictures.