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Historical document

Variety development for the fresh potato market in Western Australia (PT03070)

Key research provider: Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Publication date: September, 2004

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

Potato breeding-lines, selected under Western Australia conditions, were screened for potato virus y to ensure a clean supply of seed for future project work. This screening procedure interrupted evaluation work. However one advanced selection which offered benefits for fresh market winter production was tested successfully on a commercial scale for the second consecutive year.

The industiy priority the researcher was tackling was the improvement of the performance of winter grown crops. The yield of these crops was just 60 per cent of the overall average yield for fresh market potatoes in WA. The reduced yield of the winter crop was due to many factors which included storm and wind damage, heavy rain, frost, low temperatures, short days and lack of sunshine.

The new fresh market variety, White Star, offers improved culinary quality and was a good example of the benefits improved varieties could provide. White Star had much higher starch level than Nadine and produces a higher yield of large tubers which would help overcome the excess winter production of small potatoes. These improvements benefited farmers and consumers alike.

The variety Dawmor, released in WA in 1999, was approved by the Indonesian Department of Agriculture for crisp production in Indonesia.
Vims free seed was produced to allow variety evaluation work to continue in WA.

Improved potato varieties adapted to local conditions could be produced through this local selection program.

Recommendations for future R&D

  • The current system of selecting breeding-lines from a summer planted crop at Toolangi, Victoria did not suit the selection of winter varieties. In future crosses needed to be planned that would provide breeding-lines with the characteristics required by the WA potato industiy.
  • White Star needed to be tested for potato cyst nematode resistance.
  • A workable quarantine procedure to allow potato breeding material into WA needs to be developed.

Recommendations for practical application to industry

  • White Star required a further year's successful commercial testing in order to be accepted by Western Potatoes as a new commercial variety for Western Australia.
  • Future priorities for WA variety evaluation needed to be identified and suitable crosses should be planned to allow the timely production of suitable breeding-lines for testing in WA

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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited).

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