November/December 2011
Russet Burbanks Hold Steady By Bill Schaefer

There are a few surprises when comparing the 2011 certified seed potato acres with the 2010 statistics but there was nothing surprising about the number one seed potato. Russet Burbank remains the most popular seed potato by a wide margin over the number two seed potato variety, the Frito-Lay varieties.

Rumors of the decline of the Russet Burbank have proved to nothing more than idle talk at this time. Released in 1914, it retains its popularity by a margin of over 14,000 acres to the Frito-Lay varieties.

And once again Idaho is the national leader in Russet Burbank seed acreage with 15,123 acres out of a national total of 24,078, almost 63 percent of the national production, nothing surprising there.

As Russet Burbanks lead the nation in total acreage so Idaho leads the nation in total seed acreage with 34,766 acres, 30 percent of the national total, of 114,977 acres. Idaho’s 2011 acres represents a 14 percent increase in total acres from the 2010 total of 30,461.

Burbanks actually saw an increase in acreage, albeit a slight one of 45 acres from 2010, but that’s the second consecutive year that Burbank acreage has increased, of course that’s still a decrease from the 2006 total of 29,991 acres.

Frito-Lay varieties saw an increase of 124 acres from 2010, a 1.2 percent increase for 2011, with Maine, Nebraska and Wisconsin each providing more than 2,000 acres of the varieties.

This year’s chart is a little deceptive, the 2010 chart counted all Russet Norkotah Selections as one group, but this year the varieties are counted individually, resulting in the Ranger Russet moving into third place and yet the Ranger’s total acreage declined by 361 acres from last year.

In fourth place is the Russet Norkotah with 4,987 acres, an improvement of more than 30% from 2010, almost equal to its total of 5,092 acres in 2008, the largest increase of any in the top 20.

Cal White acreage dropped a little over 25 percent to 881 acres this year, after showing a 44 percent increase the previous year.

Two varieties suffered a dramatic drops in popularity the Blazer Russet dropped 52 percent from 1,389 acres in 2010 to 671 acres in 2011 and the Red LaSoda dropped 58 percent in total acreage, from 2,485 acres to 1,037.

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