Cassava is a popular root crop in the Cayman Islands. It is used in both its fresh and processed forms in a variety of dishes and snacks. ‘Black Stick’ is a sweet cultivar and one of 22 varieties housed at the CARDI germplasm bank on the island.
A study done by the institute, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, evaluated the yield potential of the ‘Black Stick’ cultivar at 6, 7, 8 and 9 months after planting. The experiment was conducted at the CARDI Field Station in Bodden Town.
A completely randomized block design treatment was used in the evaluation. There were 6 replicates with 24 plants per plot. The spacing between plants was 3 feet, between rows 3 feet and a 5 feet spacing between plots. Good agricultural practices such as irrigation, weed management and fertilisation were applied across all treatment plots. Data were collected from each plot at 6, 7, 8 and 9 months after planting and analyzed using analysis of variance in Genstat.
Preliminary results showed that there were no significant differences in plant height, total fresh root weight, marketable fresh root weight and the total number of marketable roots, across the various treatments. The average total number of marketable roots across the months assessed ranged from 6.88 to 8.71. The marketable tuber fresh weight for plants at 6, 7, 8 and 9 months old were not significantly different (p= 0.314). Average marketable tuber fresh weight across the months assessed ranged from 4.07 to 6.08 lbs.
The results show that the ‘Black Stick’ cultivar has good potential for early harvest at 6 months and can also give suitable yields up to 9 months after planting. This means that farmers can start harvesting as early as 6 months after planting and will have a window of 4 months to harvest the roots in batches as needed for the fresh market.