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Historical document

Variety development for the fresh potato market in Western Australia (PT04023)

Key research provider: Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Publication date: October, 2005

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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?

The project aimed to improve productivity of the WA fresh potato industry through the development of improved varieties. The varieties were developed by screening breeding lines from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries Potato Breeding Program (VDPI-PBP).

Fresh market variety evaluation was a priority of the Australian potato industry and was overseen by the National Evaluation & Commercialisation Committee for the Fresh Potato Breeding Program (FNECC). The WA industry priority the researcher was tackling was the improved 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, offered improved pack-out, tuber size, disease tolerance and 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 helped overcome the excess winter production of small potatoes. These improvements benefit farmers and consumers alike.

The advanced breeding lines Auski and Billabong were tested on a commercial scale for the first time. These breeding lines may have provided the industry with and alternative to summer production of Delaware with improved appearance over Delaware and superior cooking quality to Nadine.

Improved potato varieties adapted to local conditions could be produced through this local selection program based on Australian bred potato varieties.

Recommendations for future R&D

  • The current system of selecting breeding-lines from a summer planted crop at VDPI-PBP did not suit the selection of winter varieties. In future crosses should be planned that would provide breeding-lines with the characteristics required by the WA potato industry.
  • More information on characteristics of progeny from crosses was required to help selection of material.

Recommendations for practical application to industry

  • If White Star commercial testing was successful this year (2005) then it should be added to the preferred variety list of the Potato Marketing Corporation of WA.
  • If White Star was added to the preferred variety list in WA then future priorities for WA variety evaluation needed to be identified. Suitable crosses needed be planned in conjunction with the VDPI-PBP 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) with the financial support of the Agriculture Produce Commission Potato Producers Committee.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2005. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).