The buzz word in the industry for the past couple years has been "sustainability," and it looks like that's not going to change anytime soon.
At the 94th Annual Potato Association of America meeting at Oregon State University-in the shadows of OSU's Reser Stadium-potato scientists from all over the United States and Canada gathered to share data and talk about America's favorite vegetable.
A.J. Bussan, Horticulture associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, told fellow PAA members that sustainability is a three-legged stool-environmental, economic and social. Unfortunately, the primary focus has been only one of those legs-environmental.
"We have to start documenting and confirming the successes we've made," he says. "Folks are making decisions on sustainability who don't understand what we do."
According to Bussan, the goal of the symposium was to provide an updated status of sustainability standards for agriculture. Jed Colquhoun, another associate professor from the University of Wisconsin, explained that many retailers and agricultural industries are independently developing sustainability standards, indices and certification programs for their businesses. National sustainability standards, which would ultimately encompass all agricultural crops, have been proposed or are in development by multiple groups.
"Ultimately, consumers will determine the success of such programs," he says.
Paper Abstract Highlights
Throughout the week, countless scientists-as well as graduate students-gave 15-minute synopses of research they've been conducting. These are some of the highlights of a handful of these presentations.
B.B. Pudota, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Light-colored, low acrylamide potato chips: Vacuolar acid invertase converts sucrose into reducing sugars during cold storage. We hypothesized that by suppressing invertase gene expression, we could address simultaneously the cold-induced sweetening and acrylamide problems. Chipping experiments performed on RNAi lines stored for up to six months at 4 degrees C produced dramatically light-colored, industry-acceptable potato chips after deep frying. Potato chips from some lines had 15- to 20-fold less acrylamide than potato chips processed from control tubers after two weeks of cold storage.
S.Y.C. Essah, Colorado State University. Optimizing Nitrogen Fertilizer Application and Plant Population for Maximum Tuber Yield and Quality in Mesa Russet, a New Colorado Cultivar: Field studies were conducted to evaluate the response of Mesa Russet, a new Colorado cultivar to N application rate and different seed spacing treatments. Data from these studies indicate that for an economically sustainable and environmentally responsible production of Mesa Russet, total available N rate (soil + irrigation water + applied N) should not exceed 162 kg N ha^-1.
G. Bird, MSU.
2009 Michigan Metam Sodium Atmospheric Emission Study: Proposed RED buffer zones for shank-injected Metam sodium have the potential to reduce Michigan potato acreage by about 30 percent. In 2009, a Michigan research project was funded project to develop an atmospheric emission data set for Metam sodium applied by shank injection under cool soil and air temperatures. The highest peak emissions were slightly greater than 2 µg/m^2/s compared to more than 50 µg/m^2/s for California. When a water seal was included, the peak emission was less than .5 µg/m^2/s.
M. Konschuh, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Use of green manure crops to reduce soil-borne pests and diseases of potato crops in Alberta: Alberta potato growers face a short but intensive growing season. Work in other potato-producing areas indicates that green manure crops may be effective for control of root lesion nematodes and Verticillium wilt. Early dying and Verticillium wilt have been identified in southern Alberta as increasingly important factors affecting the competitiveness of our processing industry. Some interesting results indicate a potential benefit to incorporating a green manure crop as part of a production strategy.
S. I. Rondon, Oregon State University. Managing the Beet Leafhopper in the Columbia Basin: Columbia Basin growers have experienced serious outbreaks of potato purple top disease caused by the beet leafhopper (BLH). The relationship between BLH density and the likelihood of purple top development were studied using exposure and exclusion experiments. Certified, clean Umatilla potato seed was used and potatoes were hand-planted in small plots inside a screen house. Data suggest that younger plants are more susceptible to BLTVA than mature ones. Leafhopper density as low as one insect per plant caused BLTVA infection. Information from this study will help develop treatment thresholds for BLH to better manage purple top disease.
North Dakota State University. Management of Corky Ringspot Utilizing Oxamyl: Previous research indicates oxamyl can significantly reduce Corky Ringspot disease symptoms when applied in irrigation water, but no information is available on the efficacy of low-volume applications. Five oxamyl programs were evaluated on six different varieties near Rice, Minn., during 2009 to determine oxamyl applied in-furrow at different stages of development could effectively reduce incidence in treated varieties. During 2009, non-treated plots had 33 percent severe damage from CRS. Waiting until crop emergence to begin oxamyl treatments reduced the percentage of severe damage to 19 percent, but was still unacceptable. When treatments began at planting, severe damage was reduced to commercially acceptable level of 1 percent or less.
H. Castleberry, San Luis Valley Research Center, CSU. Development of an Experimental Design to Study Pressure Flattening in Potatoes: An experimental design is being developed at the San Luis Valley Research Center-Colorado State University to induce pressure flattening. Results using this design indicate differences among four potato cultivars (Canela Russet, Centennial, Rio Grande Russet and Russet Norkotah). There was an increase in pressure flattening within a cultivar that had been subjected to different rates of moisture loss. The successful development of an experimental design to induce pressure flattening under laboratory conditions will allow for improved evaluation of factors such as cultivar, fertilization and sprout inhibitors.
M.I. Vales, et. Al. Purple Pelisse: A Tri-State Specialty Fingerling Potato with Purple Skin and Purple Flesh: Purple Pelisse (POR01PG16-1) resulted from a cross made between NDOP5847-1 and Red Bulk pollen. Purple Pelisse was officially released as a variety in 2009 from the Pacific Northwest (Tri-State) Potato Variety Development Program. It is a mid-season maturing, specialty potato with purple skin and dark purple flesh.
M.J. Pavek, Washington State University. Put to the Test: A 46-Year Assessment of Commercial Potato Seed Lots Planted in Washington: Since 1961, the Washington State University Potato Seed Lot Trial has served as a quality control instrument and historical gauge for the industry. Over the past few years, mosaic/PVY has become a true concern for all seed growing regions. Thirty percent of the 2009 seed lots had some level of mosaic with 5 percent of lots severally infected in 2009 and 15 percent in 2008. The increase is likely due to the increase in PVY sensitive varieties like Norkotah and the Norkotah strains. On the upside, leafroll has virtually disappeared.
J.A. Caram de Souza-Dias A milestone for the seed-potato market: Canada-Brazil to start the world's first commercial export/import of sprouts: For the past seven years, sprouts detached from seed tubers were imported into Brazil for sprout/seed potato research. Sprout import permits were issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture for experimental import of potato sprouts from Alaska and New Brunswick. From this world first commercial export/import of sprout/seed potato, a new era of seed potato science and marketing will be started.
R.D. Davidson, Colorado State University. Benefits of Controlling Early Blight of Potatoes in the San Luis Valley, Colorado: Current research suggest that judicious use of a well-managed fungicide program can significantly reduce early blight disease and increase yields in Colorado. Field trials evaluating fungicide rotations and application scheduling were conduced using the cultivar Russet Norkotah Selection 8. Results indicate that for a cost of $100-125/ha., growers should use fungicides in an appropriate rotation of active ingredients to control early blight and increase profits.
B.L. Farnsworth, North Dakota State University. Dakota Trailblazer: A new, Dual-Purpose Russet Cultivar with Verticillium Wilt Resistance: Dakota Trailblazer, a new, full-season, dual-purpose cultivar was release in 2009 by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. It has medium russet skin, white to creamy flesh and long and blocky tuber type. Dakota Trailblazer originated from the cross of A89163-3LS x A89914-4. Dakota Trailblazer is the first cultivar release from the North Dakota State University potato breeding program that is suitable for production of fries.