Dr. Richard Hassell: Processing tomatoes
Dr. Richard Hassell:
We're here at Haigler farms in Orangeburg, South Carolina and we're looking at test plots that we have been conducting with Clemson University to look at varieties that have been proven at the Research Station and now we're looking to see how they do on a commercial basis in the production of processing tomatoes. We're looking to see how they yield and the final product in the canning company to see how they compare with current varieties that we are growing.
This project is unique in that these are the first processing tomatoes that have ever been grown in South Carolina on a commercial basis. We are looking to expand this and make it more readily available to our growers.
The objective of this test plot is to look at new and improved lines of tomatoes that will increase yields, which will result in increased profits, making this operation more of a competitive one for the Eastern United States. Currently we're at about thirty tons to the acre on an average and we'd like to get that up to about forty to forty-five tons to the acre.
When we first started with tomatoes, we had to start from scratch. Dr. Hassell helped us choose varieties and the past couple of years we put on-farm trials to pick the best varieties for both the farmers to pick up the maximum yields and for the processing plant to have a product that they're proud to have to sell. It has to work both ways from the farm end and the processing end.