Mar 11, 2009
Tri-State Potato Variety Program Releases Three New Potatoes for 2009 Growing Season

When potato producers plant their seed this spring, they’ll have three new varieties to choose from:

Alpine Russet, a very high-yielding, medium- to late-maturing processing potato that has a natural dormancy rivaling Russet Burbank. It can be stored as long as Russet Burbank while producing lighter-colored fries.

Classic Russet, an early- to medium-maturing, good-looking and great-tasting variety that exceeds Russet Burbank in protein content by 32 percent and that can compete with Russet Norkotah for early harvest yields. It can be sold into freshpack markets or processed right out of the field or during the early storage season.

Clearwater Russet, an exceptionally attractive, mid- to full-season potato for both freshpack and processing that offers 38 percent more protein than Russet Burbank and excellent fry color out of storage.

At the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, Jeff Stark calls the trio of new potatoes “definite improvements over many of the established varieties.” Stark is Idaho coordinator of the Tri-State Potato Variety Development Program, a collaboration of the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Rich Novy, USDA-ARS potato breeder at Aberdeen, expects both Classic and Clearwater russets to serve as parent plants in an ongoing effort to improve potatoes’ nutritional content. Clearwater Russet and, to a lesser extent, Alpine Russet attest to the Tri-State program’s long-standing emphasis on reducing “cold-induced sweetening” — the accumulation of sugars in tubers during storage that results in unacceptably dark processed products following frying.

“All three of these potatoes have very good merit,” Novy said, “but the proof of their value will be their acceptance by industry. As breeders, we develop and release new varieties, but ultimately it’s industry that has the final say in their worth.”

For more information, visit www.pvmi.org, the Web site of the Potato Variety Management Institute. PVMI is a non-profit, grower-controlled company responsible for promoting and administering new Tri-State varieties.






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