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NDSU fast-tracks star spud

A new potato line in development at North Dakota State University has the potential to once again make the Red River Valley the major supplier of potatoes to the U.S. and the world, according to Carl Hoverson, a Larimore, N.D., grower.

A second-year clone, AFND4405-1 Russet yielded 777 hundredweight per acre in trials on his land this year.

“There were about nine very nice, uniformly shaped tubers under each plant. The incredible news is that this variety was planted late on May 24, 2011, and still bulked up to 777 cwt. per acre by Sept. 17, 2011,” Hoverson says.

It typically takes 400 cwt. of potatoes per acre on irrigation in North Dakota and Minnesota to cover input costs, so this would be great news for area potato farmers, he says.

Processing tests haven’t been completedly yet, but the line’s parents both have high-quality traits.

If the new line proves out, “lower costs per acre combined with impressive yields would once again make the Red River Valley a powerhouse in potato production,” Hoverson says.

AFND4405-1 Russet is a cross between two Maine breeding lines, AF2850-9 and AF34145-3. It came to North Dakota in 2010 as part of the unselected seedling exchange.

Susie Thompson, NDSU potato breeder, says her team is currently meristemming AFND4405-1 Russet in order to remove any viruses and other pathogens it may have picked up. She hopes to have it in yield trials and demonstration plots in 2012.

“In our normal breeding scheme, our cleanup might be premature, but with its high-yield potential and potential processing qualities, we feel it is important to fast-track this clone,” she says.

Sources: Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, Hoverson Farms

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Outstanding POTENTIAL: A new russet variety might significantly lower costs and increase the Red River Valley’s share of the market.

This article published in the November, 2011 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.