Butternut Squash Cultivar Evaluation 2011

To provide growers with information for successful, region-specific cultivar selection, in 2010-11 we evaluated several types of squash cultivars in conventional and organic systems across the state.
Butternut Squash Cultivar Evaluation 2011 - Articles
Butternut Squash Cultivar Evaluation 2011

Methods

Evaluations were located in central Pennsylvania at the Russell E. Larson Research and Education Center in Rock Springs, in eastern Pennsylvania at the Southeast Research and Extension Center in Landisville and in western Pennsylvania at Beinlich Farms in 2010 and Harvest Valley Farms in 2011. Additionally, cultivars were evaluated in an organic system at the Russell E. Larson Research and Education Center, Rock Springs.

The cultivars evaluated in the conventional system along with the company from which seed were acquired from are listed below. The standard 'Waltham Butternut' was grown for comparison.

CultivarSeed CompanyYear Evaluated
Butternut SupremeRupp Seeds, Inc2010
BugleRupp Seeds, Inc2010-2011
Betternut 401Rupp Seeds, Inc2010-2011
AtlasSeedway, LLC2010
JWS 6823 (PMR)Johnny's Selected Seeds2010-2011
Metro (PMR)Johnny's Selected Seeds2010-2011
Waltham ButternutJohnny's Selected Seeds2010-2011
QuantumSeigers Seed Company2011

The cultivars evaluated in the organic system along with the company from which seed were acquired from are listed below. The standards 'Waltham Butternut' in the butternut category and 'Table Queen' in the acorn category were grown for comparisons.

CultivarSeed CompanyTypeOrganic or Non-treated SeedYear
Waltham ButternutSeedway, LLCButternutOrganic2010-2011
Betternut 401Rupp Seeds, IncButternutNon-treated2010-2011
MetroJohnny's Selected SeedsButternutNon-treated2010-2011
JWS 6823Johnny's Selected SeedsButternutNon-treated2010-2011

At all locations winter squash cultivars were grown in a plasticulture system using raised beds, drip irrigation and black plastic. Three foot in row spacing and eight foot center-to-center rows were used. At the central Pennsylvania site, four-week-old transplants were planted on June 17, 2010, and three-week-old transplants were planted on June 14, 2011 in the conventional system. Five-week-old transplants were planted on May 28 and 29, 2010, and three-week-old transplants were planted on June 21, 2011 in the organic system. Direct seeding was used in the western and southeastern sites.

Fruit were harvested when all plants of an individual cultivar reached maturity. Fruit was categorized as marketable or unmarketable, counted and weighed. Yield data was analyzed using analysis of variance. When phosphorus (P) values were less than or equal to 0.05, means were separated using Duncan's LSD (Least Significant Difference) test.

Results

Organic System

  • All squash were harvested on September 9, 2010. In 2011, squash were harvested on September 1st ('Metro') and September 19th.
  • In 2010, 'JWS 6823' and 'Betternut 401' produced a larger number of marketable fruit than 'Waltham Butternut' and 'Metro'.
  • All cultivars produced similar yields in terms of weight of marketable fruit.
  • In 2011, marketable yields of all cultivars evaluated were not different than from 'Waltham'.
  • In both years, very few butternut squash were unmarketable. Differences in unmarketable yields between cultivars were not detected.

Conventional System

Rock Springs, PA

  • Butternut squash were harvested on September 1 and 7, 2010 and September 26, 2011.
  • In 2010, the largest numbers of marketable fruit were from 'Bugle' followed by 'Betternut 401.' All other cultivars produced numbers of fruit not different from 'Waltham Butternut.'
  • 'Atlas' produced the largest marketable yield by weight. Fruit weight from all other cultivars was not different than from 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • Very few butternut squash were unmarketable. Differences in unmarketable yields between cultivars were not detected.
  • In 2011, the largest numbers of marketable fruit were from 'Quantum' and 'Bugle'. All other cultivars produced numbers of fruit not different from 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • Quantum' produced the largest marketable yield by weight. Fruit weight from all other cultivars was not different than from 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • Very few butternut squash were unmarketable. 'Bugle' produced higher unmarketable yields in terms of number and weight than 'Waltham Butternut'. All other cultivars produced unmarketable yields not different than 'Waltham Butternut'.

Landisville, PA

  • In 2010, the number of marketable fruit produced by 'JWS 6823', 'Betternut 401', 'Metro' and 'Bugle' was not different than by 'Waltham Butternut'. 'Butternut Supreme' and 'Atlas' produced fewer fruit than 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • Marketable fruit from 'Atlas' was heavier than from 'Waltham Butternut'. The fruit weight from all other cultivars was not different than from 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • 'Atlas' produced more culls in terms of number and weight than all other cultivars which were not different from each other.
  • In 2011, 'Victory' produced a larger number of marketable fruit than 'Waltham Butternut'. The number of fruit produced by all other cultivars evaluated was not different than from 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • 'Quantum' and 'Frisco' produced higher marketable yields by weight than 'Waltham Butternut'. Yield by weight from all other cultivars was not different than 'Waltham Butternut'.
  • Differences in unmarketable yields between cultivars were not detected.

Valencia, PA

  • The western Pennsylvania site experienced a crop failure in 2010.
  • Butternut squash were harvested on October 13, 2011.
  • In 2011, differences in marketable yields by number were not detected.
  • 'Quantum' produced the highest marketable yields by weight than all other cultivars which were not different from each other.
  • Differences in unmarketable yields between cultivars were not detected.

Recommendations

Organic System

  • In an organic system, 'JWS 6823', 'Betternut 401' and 'Metro' are recommended as they performed better than or as well as 'Waltham Butternut'.

Conventional System

  • 'Atlas' produced very large fruit and was thought to be more suited for wholesale markets. 'JWS 6823', 'Betternut 401', 'Bugle', 'Metro', 'Quantum' and 'Betternut 1744' performed better than or as well as 'Waltham Butternut' over two evaluation years or at three locations in a single year. These cultivars are recommended. 'Victory', 'Frisco' and 'Avalon' also performed well. However, they were only evaluated in a single year at a single location. These cultivars should be evaluated for an additional year to verify repeatability of these results.

Personnel: Elsa Sánchez, Mike Orzolek, Tim Elkner, Tom Butzler, Steve Bogash, Lee Stivers and Eric Oesterling, Penn State Extension

This evaluation was funded by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Research and Marketing Board.

Authors

Sustainable vegetable systems Organic vegetable systems Field vegetable production systems High tunnel vegetable production systems

More by Elsa Sanchez, Ph.D.