Sweet Potato Yield and Consumer Preference for Thirteen Varieties Grown Organically in Virginia

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Growers are interested in knowing the yield and marketability of sweet potato as both variables determine profitability of the sweet potato enterprise. A study was carried out at Virginia State University’s Organic Research and Demonstration site located at Randolph Farm, Petersburg, Virginia, to determine the yield and consumer preferences of 13 varieties of sweet potato. These were Beauregard, Bellevue, Bonita, Burgundy, Covington, Hayman, Murasaki, O’Henry, Orleans, Porto Rico, Purple, Stokes, and Vardaman. The experiment was laid out as a complete randomized design with three replications established on 20-ft rows with 24 by 48 inches intra- and inter- row spacing, respectively. The slips were planted on June 18, 2015 while digging of roots was done at 105 and at 120 days after transplanting (DAP). During the growing period, the beds were watered twice each week for two hours per irrigation event using a drip irrigation system, and no fertilizers or pesticides were used. The total yield ranged from 6,897 lbs/ac for Hayman to 17,860 lbs/ac for Bellevue at 105 DAP, and 6,824 lbs/ac for Vardaman to 17,860 lbs/ac for Bellevue at 120 DAP. For the consumer preference, the most desirable characteristics were reported for Burgundy (8.4) while the least desirable characteristics were reported for the purple varieties (4.6 to 4.7) based on the data that was reported. ). We conclude that this information will be useful to current and potential sweet potato growers for planning their production enterprises.