Two new potato varieties with ties to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen are poised to be released soon by the Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program. Rainier will be well suited for both the fresh and processed potato markets. It’s a cross of Canela Russet and an Aberdeen breeding clone. NDA050237B-1R is a vibrant, red clone that was crossed in North Dakota.
The potato breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen is using genetics from a wild spud relative to develop crosses that won’t turn green when exposed to light. Richard Novy, potato breeder with the agency’s Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Facility, plans to plant the first field generation of crosses developed to resist tuber greening this spring.
Many consumers of potatoes are of the opinion that the vegetable contains too many carbohydrates. In a press release issued today, German based potato variety company Europlant says it is heading the low carb nutrition trend, and is now offering two potato varieties which contain fewer carbohydrates: the mild, mainly firm-cooking Coronada, which is branded as Linella, and the tasty, firm-cooking Montana.
British potato growers can now benefit from a new AHDB variety tool, offering an interactive way to select cultivars based on varietal pest and disease-resistance ratings. Picking which variety to plant next spring can be time-consuming, with 249 listed on the AHDB’s potato variety database. Information includes detailed varietal characteristics including pest and disease resistance and is a tool in the IPM armoury of growers.
HZPC Americas Corp. hired Aron Derbidge as Sales and Key Account Manager, bringing with him over 10 years of experience developing and marketing seed potatoes in the U.S. and Canada. “We’re very excited to have Aron join our team. His depth of experience, knowledge and passion will complement our growing team of seed potato professionals.”, says Jeff Scramlin, President of HZPC Americas Corp.
Diploid potato breeding, and producing varieties from true potato seed, has been getting a lot of attention in the potato industry lately — however growers won’t see these new potatoes in their fields for a while. the potato industry is working to explain what this new technology is and why growers should be interested. A panel discussion about it took place at the virtual Potato Expo on Jan. 6, 2021. Spud Smart magazine listened in.
AHDB in the UK recently announced in a news article that a new protocol for estimating the determinacy of potato varieties will be released in the next few months. The protocol will help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. Growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and therefore improve the N rates applied to their crop.
Varietal resistance to late blight, including the newer strains which have become prevalent, can still make a real difference to control, David Wilson, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager Potatoes in the UK told the online audience at the December 2020 Agronomy Week event. Performance of some of the most popular varieties were assessed with demonstration trials held by the AHDB at Eurofins in 2019.
Teagasc and IPM Potato Group have recently released a new potato variety which is resistant to potato cyst nematode (PCN). As Stephen Robb reports in the Irish Farmers Journal, the variety is called “Buster” – a new ware or prepack variety that is said to be resistant to both species of PCN that impact potatoes. According to Dan Milbourne, who spoke at this week’s National Tillage Conference, Buster combines PCN-resistant genes from five parents.
In this week’s Scotland’s Larder column in The Scotsman, Catriona Thomson talks to Andrew Skea from Potato House about how Brexit is affecting the Scottish seed potato industry, about growing your own heritage spuds, to chit spuds or not, and more. Whether it is for baking, boiling, roasting, making chips or for mash, Andrew Skea knows a thing or two about the humble potato. Andrew explains that growing up, “that was pretty much all that was talked about.”
A breeding collaboration in the UK, searching for new marketable spud varieties showing resistance and high tolerance to potato cyst nematode, have put forward five promising candidate clones for National List testing. Grampian Growers, E Park & Sons and Skea Organics – known as the GPS partnership – plus commercial research group James Hutton Institute have been developing new potato varieties in England since 2016. These trials have been designed to screen new resistant clones for best tolerance against potato cyst nematode (PCN).
According to a Reuters report, France sees crops developed using gene-editing techniques as different to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and opposes a European Union court decision to put them under strict GMO regulations, the country’s agriculture minister said. The decision was welcomed by some environmentalists who have long opposed GMOs as a threat to ecosystems, and criticised by seed makers and scientists as penalising Europe’s agricultural research capacity.
HZPC’s CEO, Gerard Backx says: “What we can contribute are new varieties that can help to improve environmental impact in the future. We try to develop different disease resistances to make sure that our potatoes can be grown without or with a very reduced amount of pesticides. Of course, yield is important too, because if you can produce more product on the same amount of land with the same amount of energy, then you are more sustainable.”
As the global population approaches 10 billion by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by 60%. Yet with every 1°C of warming, agricultural productivity is projected to fall by 5%. One model predicts that potato yields could decrease by as much as 32% by 2060, but the development and distribution of climate-smart varieties can ensure that this nutritious and fast-maturing crop continues to play a vital role in food systems in economies worldwide. To accelerate the development of those varieties, scientists have taken advantage of advances in genetic sequencing,
Africa’s first potato farmers were European settlers who introduced the crop in the late 1800s, but few Africans grew it before the mid-1950s. Since then, the tuber has taken off, with more than 25 million metric tons produced in Africa in 2017. According to the International Potato Center (CIP), potato is now the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize, grown by 800,000 small-scale farmers and generating employment for an estimated 2.5 million people along the value chain. Improved potato varieties introduced by CIP have the potential to significantly boost farm incomes.
An assessment published in 2018 found that 19% of the total land area devoted to potato production in these seven countries was planted with varieties bred at the International Potato Center (CIP) or by national partners in collaboration with CIP. Between 2008 and 2015, the area planted with those varieties more than doubled to 1.43 million hectares. Over the past 40 years, CIP scientists have helped 2.93 million potato farming households to produce more food and generate more income.
The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a project that recently developed a durable solution for the late blight potato disease. The discovery is of historic importance, and now 2Blades is seeking partners to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa. 2Blades Foundation says it is honored to have the support of the son of Robert F. Kennedy, businessman Chris Kennedy, for its African Potato Initiative.
Thousands of farmers in Bangladesh grow potatoes on over one million acres of land, spending up to a fourth of their investment on fungicide sprays to fight late blight. The disease damages 20 percent of the total potato production in the country. The Bangladeshi government has finally allowed its scientists to import two blight resistant (RB) potato varieties, developed at the Michigan State University (MSU), and agreed that field trials can be conducted with the varieties.
As the impacts of climate change intensify — from water scarcity to raging fires and disease outbreaks — the ability to keep pace with demand for food will increasingly rely on crops adapted to new conditions. To achieve this crop breeders will need the full range of tools at their disposal. So says Oscar Ortiz, Deputy Director General for Research and Development at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. Ortiz warns that biodiversity loss threatens national security.
Food technology expert: New Maine potato varieties ‘have much lower levels of acrylamide than Russet Burbank’
Food technology and human nutrition specialist at the University of Maine, Professor Mary Ellen Camire, has some good news about french fries. Those made with the new potato varieties AF4296-3 and Easton have much lower levels of the probable carcinogen acrylamide than those made with the popular Russet Burbank variety. Camire, conducted a pilot study in this regard with colleagues, including Gregory Porter, who heads the UMaine potato breeding and variety development program.
This research is part of the ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerant potato”) project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. It is a joint effort involving public and industrial partners from the European potato sector, and its mission is to develop new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. European potato growers are cordially invited to complete an online survey.
The National Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA) in Uruguay recently signed an agreement with the local agrobiotechnology company Rustikas to work together on the selection, evaluation, validation and production of seeds of new potato varieties of Uruguayan origin. The alliance will work towards a continued genetic improvement of new potato varieties. The partners will also strive to bring about an efficient Uruguayan based seed production system and supply a national multiplication network. It will be the first time that a company in Uruguay uses aeroponic technology to offer minitubers to farmers and seed growers.
The World Potato Congress (WPC) is pleased to present its next webinar on December 15, 2020 with Dr Mark Taylor, Co-leader of Potato Genetics and Molecular Physiology, at The James Hutton Institute in the UK. Dr Taylor’s presentation will highlight some of the key challenges in developing new potato varieties that could deliver the full potential of the crop. Recent achievements in overcoming some the obstacles to improving varieties will be reviewed briefly and important traits for the future considered.
Through “sharing excellence” across programs and geographies, crop breeders are ready to deliver higher rates of genetic gain and varietal turnover. This was the theme of November 10-12’s Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Virtual Meeting 2020, where nearly 250 breeders and leaders came together to share principles, successes and opportunities.
Researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organisation Uganda and the International Potato Center, have developed a new variety of potato which is resistant to late blight. Using new molecular techniques, they transferred late-blight resistance genes into the popular East African potato variety Victoria. The new variety, known as 3R Victoria, is almost identical to the variety farmers now plant in Uganda, with one crucial difference. It contains three genes from a potato relative that provide it with complete resistance to the late blight pathogen.