AgronomyTop of the Hill

    Top of the Hill


    [deck]New Ontario potato varieties show promise.[/deck]

    Glossy, Laperla, Montreal, Spartan Chipper and unnamed F13026 were standout varieties at two Ontario potato field day events in August.

    Over 100 new varieties were examined in the plots at the Elora Research Station at the University of Guelph, and a similar number were on display at the Ontario Potato Board’s Ontario Potato Field Day at HJV Equipment in Alliston. Growers were invited to chat with companies showcasing products that will interest the potato industry and kick tires on some of the latest in potato production equipment. The two field days were held back to back in the same week and the weather was cooperative, which allowed growers from across Canada to see the most promising varieties and the latest innovations offered at both sites.

    With that many varieties, finding five that excited researchers and growers is exceptional. While the named varieties are in the seed building stage, each has particular qualities that might convince growers to try them in the field.

    Developed by La Patate Lac-Saint-Jean, Glossy is a mid/early variety that is tolerant to scab.

    “This fresh market variety tastes good and has bright skin and flesh,” says Fred Tremblay, who made the trip from Quebec to see how well his variety compared to others in the field. “It has numerous tubers per plant.”

    Which, he adds, makes it a good option for the fresh market. Tremblay says seed for Glossy is available for the coming season.

    Spartan Chipper was developed by Michigan State University’s breeding program and the program’s director says it has high yield potential, a good sugar profile in storage and a nice shape.

    “It also has good scab resistance,” adds Dr. David Douches. “We’ve been working on developing a variety like this for a couple decades, and we think it meets the chip processing requirements of scab resistance and storability.”

    Spartan Chipper is being successfully grown commercially in Michigan and has performed well in SNAC International trials that assess advanced chipping lines. He hopes the variety will be available commercially in Canada soon.

    Two varieties from Alberta’s Solanum International impressed the crowd in Ontario. Montreal and Laperla are yellow varieties with light yellow flesh suitable for the fresh market. Company spokesperson Phil Bakker says they are both early market conventional options, but each has some special characteristics that set them above similar varieties.

    “Laperla is high yielding and has good drought tolerance, and Montreal is great for organic production and is suitable for home fries,” says Bakker. “Laperla is suitable for all soil types, particularly light textured soils. It can bulk up quickly in the last phase of growth and must be monitored closely for tuber size when nearing maturity. Montreal has better than average scab resistance and has a high natural resistance to early blight.”

    Of the promising up and coming varieties selected at the Benton Ridge Potato Breeding

    Substation in New Brunswick, F13026 is a round-oval shaped, white fleshed, mid-season maturing chipping option. It has good chipping scores, but is susceptible to PVY and PVX. It is similar to Norland, which gives growers something to compare it against.

    Research Update

    At the University of Guelph Potato Research Field Day, growers also learned about early potatoes with low glycemic impact, from Dr. Reena Pinhero. Eight varieties were evaluated for their low glycemic impact in four cooking methods – boiled and cooled (retrogradation), retrograded and reheated, baked and microwaved – and all were found to have low to medium glycemic indices across all cooking methods. The varieties examined were Adora, Yellow Star, Carlingford, Purple Fiesta, French Fingerlings, Ciklamen, Red Thumb and Smart.

    “We need to do more work to educate consumers on the health benefits of potatoes,” says Pinhero. “Potatoes offer the best nutritional value for the money.”

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