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From pipeline to commercialization: The National Chip Program’s impact on potato breeding

The National Potato Council (NCP) in the U.S. aims to improve potato chipping varieties in the pipeline toward commercialization and has brought more collaboration among potato growers and breeders in different regions. The program also helps enhance the trial process through reduced development time and increased candidates’ strength, Potatoes USA says in its February 2023 newsletter.

The criteria candidates are developed and trialed with have also been expanded, which are:

  • Agronomics (e.g., yield, lack of defects, stress tolerance).
  • Disease resistance.
  • Maintaining quality outside of the field or storage.
  • Upholding attributes that produce a high-quality and profitable chip in-plant during processing.

Breeders entering candidates into the program focus on a specific set of criteria, depending on where the candidate is within the trialing system. Before breeders enter candidates into tier 1 of the NCP, the candidates spend up to five years in more localized trials. The breeders conduct the trials to evaluate performance, ensuring candidates have merit. Then, candidates are introduced into and may graduate through the program in the following steps:

  1. Candidates enter NCPT1, trialed with 15-hills.
  2. Successful candidates move to NCPT2, trialed with 30-hills.
  3. Select candidates will move into the SNAC trial system.
  4. NexGen is the last step towards commercialization for the most promising candidates.

There are four major meetings for NCP members throughout the year:

  • January: The Chip Committee Meeting is held during the week of the Potato Expo to provide an opportunity for all growers at the event to receive an overview of the NCP accomplishments. Attendees learn about the final list of trial candidates entering the system and an update on upcoming seed plans.
  • March: A meeting is held to focus on pathology and defects.
  • Summer: Members reconvene for the online Summer Meeting. The three primary focus areas include program reports, the NCP budget, and significant findings on the storage chip quality of late-stage trial candidates.
  • December: The NCP gathers for the Variety Selection Meeting in Chicago during the first week of the month. This meeting allows breeders to present the candidates they wish to enter the trialing system, advance within the system, or drop from the system altogether. Breeders utilize the online data management system Medius to present the performance of their candidates from all trial locations.

Holding the December Variety Selection Meeting in Chicago has been a tremendous benefit for many breeders who are also attending a meeting with the Potato Breeding and Genetics Technical Committee – a committee unaffiliated with Potatoes USA. Record attendance of 63 participants from 35 organizations was achieved at the December meeting, indicating the value that both the meeting and NPC hold in the industry. Most attendees joined in person, bringing lively conversation and competing perceptions of candidates. Deeper conversation and debate over candidate advancement increases the likelihood that candidates within the system are vetted and of superior quality.

Get involved with the NCP and attend its annual meetings – all industry members are welcome. To stay informed about the program’s activities, join the NCP mailing list by reaching out to Alyssa Green at  Alyssa@PotatoesUSA.com.

Source: Potatoes USA
Photo: Credit -Rita-👩‍🍳 und 📷 mit ❤ from Pixabay

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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