AgronomyCool Weather and Stem Elongation

Cool Weather and Stem Elongation


In 2017, the season started with a cool spring, but not quite as cool or wet as this spring. That year, I observed abnormal stem elongation in June that affected Superiors and a processing variety.

A colleague at North Carolina State University saw the same thing. It was clearly physiological, but the cause wasn’t obvious. We concluded that cool weather had this effect on a few varieties. The plants grew out of it in about ten days.

Yesterday, I found patches in a field of Superior with the same symptoms, just before I got chased out of the field by more rain. In 2017, the sprouts were elongated but green; this season, the stems are dark purplish-brown and the leaves are yellowish.  This may be due to poor phosphorus uptake in cold soils.  It could also be due to linuron damage.  Gibberellic acid was not used on the seed.

I spoke with the grower yesterday, and we both expect that the Superiors will grow out of what is probably a physiological problem.  I plan to monitor the field closely.

Stem Elongation in 2017. Photo: Eugenia Banks
Elongated, dark stems in 2019. Photo: Eugenia Banks
Stem elongation in a field of Superiors in 2019. Photo: Eugenia Banks

Trending This Week

Up to 68 Per Cent of Potato Seed Could be Infected With Verticillium

Let me throw a shocking number at you: 68 per cent. A recent scientific research paper stated that up to 68 per cent of...

Tackling Moisture When it’s Too Much / Too Little / Too Late.

Moisture is the most universally challenging factor in potato production: there never seems to be the right amount at the right time. On May...
Cell phone

There’s an App for That – Helping Culinarians Pick the Perfect Potato

I know not everyone agrees with my stance on the importance of varietal labeling. One thing I think we can all agree on is...

World Potato Congress: Confronting Climate Challenges and Cultivating a Sustainable Future

Adelaide is set to host the 12th World Potato Congress from June 23-26, 2024. This global event will bring together farmers, researchers, and industry...

Sam Gagnon is the Future of Potato Breeding

As the son of a potato breeder, Sam Gagnon decided he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. As a kid, Sam Gagnon would work...