Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) is a long-term breeding project that addresses the critical needs of organic carrot farmers by developing orange and novel colored carrots with improved disease and nematode resistance, improved weed competitiveness, and improved nutritional value and flavor. The first iteration of CIOA took place from 2011-2013. A second iteration of the project will begin in the 2017 growing season.
The CIOA project includes field trials in California, Indiana, Washington, and Wisconsin for four years in each state to evaluate the performance of 36 diverse carrot cultivars and breeding stocks for field performance (yield, appearance, leaf blight, nematode resistance) and consumer quality (flavor and nutrient content). The project also includes weed competitiveness trials in Wisconsin and Washington, nematode resistance trials in California, and on-farm trials of elite materials in all four states in the final two years. Variation in labile soil organic matter pools, soil microbial activity, and bacterial, fungal and archeal community composition are being quantified at each field site. Also, rhizosphere and endosphere community composition are being evaluated in a subset of carrot entries grown in one of the paired organic-conventional trials to improve understanding of the relationship between soil biological factors and carrot performance. In addition to these trials, research activities included in the CIOA project are expected to determine the genetic inheritance of resistance to nematodes and leaf blights, and further breeding efforts for improved resistance to these pests as well as competitiveness with weeds.
Learn more about the CIOA project, find resources for organic production, and explore a searchable database of carrots by visiting the CIOA site.