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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this project is to enhance the productivity and marketing potential of crops grown in northern climates. The specific goals are: 1) use potatoes as a model crop to identify the factors contributing to the superiority of the “physiological young seed” phenomenon attributed to seed grown in northern latitudes; 2) conduct research on the ecology and biology of insect vectors affecting seed potato in Alaska; and 3) to enhance water recovery and use for agricultural and fishery production/ processing systems using membrane osmosis.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
To maximize initial uniformity, mini-tubers will be produced arising from a single mother plant using tissue culture. Half of the mini-tubers will be sent to collaborators in Idaho or Washington state and the other aliquot of mini-tubers will be grown out at a seed production site in Palmer Alaska. At the end of the growing season the resulting tubers will be harvested, graded, and stored for the winter. In the spring of the following seasons half of the tubers from each site/state will either be replanted at the other production site/state; the other half will be planted in the same site/state were produced. The experiment/procedure will be duplicated during three consecutive growing seasons. Data on date of emergence, plant growth, yield, and flowering dates will be recorded and compared. Additional research is being done to provide agricultural water recovery systems to potato production and to aid in concentration fishery by-products used for potato fertilization.

3. Progress Report
Work continued on the joint project between the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and USDA-ARS Fairbanks on the quality of seeds for northern latitudes. Potatoes were again grown and evaluated as the pilot crop under both subarctic conditions in Palmer, AK and other sites in Idaho and Washington states. Yield analysis is assessing the growth potential of different varieties across multiple years with different climate regimes to aid in the selection of the best germplasm for the state, along with an assessment of potential pest problems, including aphids. As these tests near completion, new studies on pesticide activities in arctic soils and the potential to use membrane osmosis from water recovery will also be investigated. This collaboration was monitored and assessed through both joint research planning and work by the ADODR and through monthly project discussions, on-site and over the telephone.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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