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Introduction to Carrot Crops Production and Marketing

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Published: Mon, 11 Jun 2018

  • Eric Harms

Production

Seeding

Carrots are a very specialized crop, which is suitable to late season starts, seeding should take place around 3-5 days after your last suspected frost. Carrot seeds prefer a deeply tilled sandy soil with a plant density of one plant per three to four inches. Seeding depth can very from a quarter to a half inch deep. Germination takes place in ten to twenty one days. Due to thinning of carrots it is recommended to re-sow sections of the row that have thinned every two weeks, leading up to May. Seeding equipment varies depending on the size of operation, planting can be done by hand with large commercial machinery being used for large-scale operations.

Fertilization

Carrots should be fertilized five to six weeks after they have been planted and based off of soil test from field of planting. It is recommended to broadcast half of the desired fertilizer onto the field and work in before planting occurs, then incorporate. Once seeding has taken place you should side dress the remaining fertilizer. Amounts of Fertilizer varies depending on the prior mentioned soil test. Later charts illustrate desired fertilizer. (from University of Minnesota)

Crop protection

Carrots main pests come in the forms of insects with the main ones being Carrot Rust Fly, Carrot Weevil and the Aster Leafhopper.  There is a variety of ways to monitor for these pest some being orange/yellow sticky traps, wooden plate traps, carrot root section monitoring and planting away from marshes and wet lands. Continuous monitoring is necessary as these pests can drastically reduce your yield potential and incite disease. If thresholds are reached there are many insecticides that can be used to treat the populations.

Diseases in Manitoba production have been limited as not many acres have been planted over the years. Much like soybeans it is in its Cinderella period, most of carrots problems come from nutrient deficiencies, which can be managed by proper soil tests.

Harvest

Harvest typically takes place between august 15 and into late fall with September and October being the best months. For wholesalers carrots must be five inches or longer and between ¾ inch and 1-1/2 inch diameter. Depending on where you sell, carrot sizing can vary largely. Farmers markets have limited standards and grocery stores have personal standards.

Marketing

End Use/End Market

Depending on the size of your farming operation the final destination for your carrots will vary. Small farmers 1-5 acres will typically focus on farmers markets and direct marketing to local food stores in their areas.

Once you get into medium sized operations farmers will typically work with peak of the market in order to get branding and packaging. Peak of the Market acts as a co-operative that helps sell your produce for you.

Lastly large scale carrot producers, typically will package their own produce under their own branding cutting out peak of the market as their help isn’t required. Sales are typically with large scale grocery chains starting from province of origin then working outward to other provinces as business scale grows.

As a whole carrot farming is marketed towards two main groups wholesale (supermarkets, grocery stores) and farmers markets. Where the farmer focuses on typically depends on the stage of the farmers business and how large of scale they are operating in.

Current/Historical prices

Carrot prices historically have been on the good side with the average farmer being able to make a good living. In the current market we are looking at a price of around $2.46 per kilogram. This is a higher price when compared to the historical prices where in 2014 carrots were around $2.04 per kilogram. This increase in price is the trend going forward with carrots as populations increase. Carrot prices function much like major crops where they will typically skyrocket with natural disasters. On the tail end of things prices dropping below the level of earning a profit do not typically occur. Carrots are a cash crop and farmers are usually making a good living off of this species.

Supply/Demand

With Canada and most other first world countries becoming more health conscious carrot demand has been improving both globally and nationally. For standard carrots there has been a slow gradual increase in demand. On the other hand specialized carrots such as organic have had a substantial increase in demand in first world countries. Those who produce carrots are in a very viable market in Manitoba and Canada for that matter.

When it comes to supply there is typically enough food in the market so that customers demanding carrots don’t go home carrotless. In Manitoba there are some carrot farmers but not enough to saturate the market thus the good prices we are facing. Supply is on the low end when it comes to carrots, though demand is being met there is more room in the market for other suppliers to enter it.

References   

Stevenson, AB, and J. Chaput. “Carrot Insects.” Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. N.p., 1 July 1993. Web. 1 July 1998. <http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/93-077.htm>.

Fritz, Vincent A., Cindy B.S. Tong, Carl J. Rosen, and Terry Nennich. “Carrot-Vegetable Crop Management.” University of Minnesota Extension. N.p., 1 Sept. 2010. Web. 1 Aug. 2012. <http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/fruit-vegetable/carrots-vegetable-crop-management/#fertilizer>.

Munro, D. B. and E. Small (1997). Vegetables of Canada. National Research Council. http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/home.html

Chaput, J. (2000). Identification and Management of Carrot Root Diseases. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Nitrogen recommendations for carrots:

Approximate

Yield Goal2

Soil Organic Matter Level (O.M.)1

Organic

Soil

Low

Medium

High

cwt/A

N to Apply (lb/A)

 

Soil Tes K Level (ppm)

0-41

41-80

81-120

121-160

161-200

201+

Yield goal cwt/A

K2O to Apply (lb/A)2

350

200

150

100

75

50

0

Soil test P Level (ppm)

Bray-P1

0-10

11-20

21-30

31-40

41-50

51+

Olsen-P

0-7

7-15

16-25

26-33

34-41

42+

Yield Goal cwt/A

P2O5 to Apply (lb/A)2

350

150

100

75

50

25

0


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