Specialty Potato Trial
PROJECT LEADER(S): Jeffery K. Vance
LOCATION: Mitchell County
The Mitchell County Specialty Potato project was
designed to compare five specialty potato varieties and their production
The potatoes were ordered from the Maine Potato Growers Association and received through Southern States. Each variety was planted in 130 ft rows and was replicated on a ½ acre plot. The potatoes were planted on April 22, 2004. The grower wanted to use organic methods to produce the potatoes so no herbicides were applied. Following planting an organic fertilizer was applied and then during the summer the potatoes were treated with approved organic pesticides for Colorado Potato Beetle. The materials used included a Bt and a Spinosad. Copper was used for late blight. This material did not give complete control with all the late blight pressure due to the rainy season we had, so we did have a decrease in plant stand due to late blight infection.
Even with the plants being damaged from late blight we had a good harvest from the four varieties. The All Blues were the lowest yielders. These potatoes are small and oblong. The variety just doesn't get very large so yields are not expected to be very high. The Yukon Gold and Dark Red Norland were both high yielding. The yield results calculated to a per acre yield are:
Dark Red Norland – 12,000 lbs.
All Red – 10,000 lbs.
All blue – 4000 lbs.
The potato varieties began maturing in late July and so the grower began to dig potatoes then to sell at the local farmers markets. All varieties sold well. Best sales were with the Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gold. These varieties go along with traditional potato production in the area. Potatoes were also marketed to a couple of restaurants and to the Penland School of Crafts cafeteria.