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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » Vegetable Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #274744


Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Organic potato production – seed potato production and participatory variety trials

item Charkowski, Amy
item Genger, Ruth
item Rouse, Doug
item Groves, Russell
item Mueller, Emily
item Jansky, Shelley
item Guenthner, Joseph

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/2011
Publication Date: 1/4/2012
Citation: Charkowski, A., Genger, R., Rouse, D., Groves, R., Mueller, E., Jansky, S.H., Guenthner, J. 2012. Organic potato production – seed potato production and participatory variety trials [abstract]. Potato Expo 2012.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Potatoes are vegetatively propagated, thus many pathogens can be transmitted in seed potatoes and affect the subsequent crop. Certified seed potatoes, which are inspected to ensure that pathogen levels are below a specified threshold, provide effective control of most tuber-borne diseases. Organic growers face a shortage of organically-grown certified seed potatoes in the Midwest, and limited access to certified seed potatoes for specialty and heirloom varieties. As a result, they sometimes plant disease-infected seed, which may endanger potato production in a region. Agronomic, disease resistance, and nutritional information on specialty and heirloom varieties is limited. We are studying the feasibility of seed potato production on Wisconsin organic farms. For this project, we have tested numerous potato virus control methods including mineral oil sprays, row covers, green sprouting of seed tubers, early vine cutting, and reflective plastic mulches. We have gathered yield, quality, and pest and disease resistance data from 34 varieties grown in replicated trials on 12 grower farms. Nutritional and taste data are being obtained from a subset of these varieties. In addition, we are developing a disease-free tissue culture bank of 100 specialty varieties unavailable in any other potato variety collection. An economic analysis of organic potato production costs has been developed. This poster will present project results relevant to conventional and organic growers, including the results of PVY control trials and variety trials. We will also provide an estimate for the cost of running a participatory variety trialing program on potato grower farms and discuss whether such a program could become self-sustaining.