Upper Peninsula Variety Trial Results Now Available

A small-scale field trial of 35 different potato varieties were planted in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, allowing farmers to survey results and choose p

Published online: Jan 25, 2019 Articles, Seed Potatoes
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Source: Michigan State University Extension 

Growers standing in field
Photo by Monica Jean, MSU Extension

Michigan State University Extension conducts multi-location field trials every year to evaluate new potato varieties. For 2018, the Upper Peninsula trial location was at Verbrigghe TJJ Farms in Cornell, Michigan. Thirty-five different varieties of russet and tablestock varieties were planted and compared to industry standard varieties. In the field trial, every variety was sized according to the tuber type, evaluated for yield and quality, and were rated for vine vigor and maturity.

The potato trial was planted May 31, vine killed Sept. 9 and harvested Oct. 12. Harvest was delayed due to poor field conditions. Weather data received from Michigan State University’s Escanaba Enviroweather station reported a growing season (plating to harvest) rainfall of 9.84 inches, much less than the five-year average rainfall of 18.3 inches. Growing degree-day (GDD) accumulation for base 40 was 2,640 (planting to vine kill).

From the 35 different varieties that were tested, the top six will be highlighted.

Seven red-skin varieties were planted with AF4831-2R yielding the highest. AF4831-2R is a uniform, dark red, waxy-skinned variety that yielded 495 cwt/a US#1 with 76 percent A and 20 percent B size tubers. It should be noted that AF4831-2R also performed well in the 2017 trial.

Seven yellow-skin varieties were planted with varieties Laperla and Orlena yielding the highest. Laperla yielded 480 cwt/a US#1 with 67 percent A and 1 percent B size tubers, and Orlena yielded 468 cwt/a US#1 with 83 percent A and 1 percent B size tubers. Both varieties exhibited yellow, waxy, smooth flesh. Although Laperla had a higher yield than Orelena, Laperla had a lower then desired specific gravity (1.056) and high percentage of oversized tubers (28 percent).

Three purple novelty type varieties were planted this season, with similar quality ratings but a range in quantity. AF5245-1P yielded 407 cwt/a US#1 with 74 percent A, 4 percent B and 22 percent oversized size tubers. MSX324-1P yielded 399 cwt/a US#1 with 82 percent A, 4 percent B and 14 percent oversized size tubers.

The top two russet varieties out of 18 planted were Mountain Gem and A07061-6RUS. Mountain Gem yielded 478 cwt/a US#1 with 49 percent A, 6 percent B and 42 percent oversized size tubers. A07061-6RUS yielded 444 cwt/a US#1 with 59 percent A, 15 percent B and 21 percent oversized size tubers. Specific gravity for Mountain Gem was 1.075 and A07061-6RUS was 1.083. Both varieties had good tuber quality ratings and A07061-6RUS had a late vine maturity rating. Bulk plantings of Mountain Gem will be done in 2019 on cooperating farms across Michigan as the next step in commercializing this variety.

Variety trials are used as a stepping-stone for farmers by informing them about variety performance in their local area. They can then use this information in their decision-making process when choosing varieties for larger scale production. By pinpointing successful varieties within a growing region, we can move towards commercial production while maintaining quality and yield. Some of the top varieties noted here will go on to a larger scale planting next growing season.

To review variety trial results for this trial and for other locations throughout Michigan, please check out our Potato Outreach Program webpage.

For further questions and inquires, email Monica Jean, field crop educator, at atkinmon@anr.msu.edu.