Sep 16, 2016
Variety management guidelines start from farms

Extension specialist Samuel Essah conducts several research studies every year with the objective of developing variety management guidelines for the successful, sustainable, and economic production of potatoes in the San Luis Valley.

Several advanced potato clones selected from the Colorado potato breeding program are planted and evaluated on different grower fields under different management practices each year. Varieties tested on grower farms include Russets, Reds, Yellows, round whites and specialty varieties. Established potato varieties are planted alongside the advanced clones as a control to help determine the yield and quality advantage of newly developed varieties.

Advanced clones are planted in strips in grower fields. The grower (research cooperator) manages the planted varieties just as he/she manages his/her potatoes in the field, until vine kill. After vine kill, Essah and his crew harvest the potatoes and evaluate the crop for yield and quality. The yield and quality information obtained are discussed at the cultivar evaluation meeting held every fall at the San Luis Valley Research Center. Varieties that develop maximum yield compared to the control, and have passed the screening test for common potato diseases, are recommended for further testing. Advanced potato clones are tested for a minimum of two to three years on grower fields. Information on how the advanced clones were managed on the grower field is gathered to help develop management guidelines. Information gathered from grower cooperators include, nutrient management, plant population management, and irrigation water management. Varieties that appear to be promising, and are recommended by growers at the cultivar evaluation meetings are selected for intensive field management evaluation.

In addition new varieties are evaluated under replicated and randomized research trials at the San Luis Valley Research Center. Research studies conducted on the new varieties include nutrient management (nitrogen fertilizer management, potassium fertilizer management, phosphorus fertilizer management, and micronutrient management); plant population management (in-row seed spacing); irrigation water management; and response of varieties to soil amendments.

Every research study that is initiated for a new variety is repeated for two or three years to evaluate the performance of the variety over time. Results obtained are combined with grower management information for a particular variety, and the combined data are used to develop management guidelines for the new variety.

In 2016, sixteen potato varieties were grown in strips on six grower farms across the valley. The varieties included Russet – CO08065-2RU, CO08231-1RU, CO07015-4RU, CO07049-1RU, and Russet Norkotah (Sel. 8) as a check; yellow flesh potato – CO08155-2RU/Y, CO07131-1W/Y, CO07370-1W/Y, and Yukon Gold as a check; red skin potato – NDC081655-1R, and Sangre as a check; round whites – AC01144-1W, AC08094-2W, CO07070-10W, CO07070-13W, and Chipeta as a check.

Essah compiles this information annually in a comprehensive report. If you are interested here is a link for more information: http://potatoes.colostate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2015-Research-Report-Book.pdf

— Samuel Essah, Colorado State University

Source: Colorado Potato Administrative Committee

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