Assessing blight resistant potato varieties

This field lab is testing a range of blight resistant varieties in organic systems with the aim of looking at performance, taste and building market acceptance of new varieties that could reduce input levels.

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Field Lab Timeline

    1/20/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • Field lab designed

    Field lab designed
  • 4/28/2015 11:00:00 PM
  • Plant trial and normal varieties

    Plant trial and normal varieties
  • 8/8/2015 11:00:00 PM
  • First report

    Collating photos and comments from growers

    First report
  • 9/27/2015 11:00:00 PM
  • First harvest

    Abbey Home Farm and Fearniewell crops harvested

    First harvest
  • 10/31/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • Submit results

    The results of the field trials were sent to Ben for analysis.

    Submit results
  • 11/16/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • Tattie tasting event

    Members of the group took part in a 'blind tasting' session of different potato varieties, and learned more about the trial in Scotland.

    Tattie tasting event
  • 12/8/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • Results of trial

    Results of trial
For further information hover over the above milestone marks
  • Discussion

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  • Achievements

    December 2015

    Results from Tasting and Growing trials

    All trial varieties either were topped before any blight was seen or succumbed to blight later than the control varieties, though incidence and timing of the disease varied from site to site.

    There were no clear results in terms of yield performance of the blight resistant varieties. The growers’ comments can be seen in Appendix 1, and include notes about both growing and eating qualities. Sarpo Mira, Carolus, Axona, and Kifli were noted as being most blight resistant by the growers. It was also noted by the growers that Sarpo Mira did not have a favourable taste. The variety that was viewed most favourably according to both of these broad categories was Carolus.

    In the taste-testing session Carolus came out as probably being the most favoured variety in terms of taste when the scores for all methods of cooking were taken into account. Axona and Athlete also came out relatively well. Because not all varieties were cooked in all the ways, and not all attendees tasted all the varieties, it is not possible to state that Carolus was clearly favoured above all others. The non-resistant variety (Orla) was rated as least favourable in terms of both flavour and texture.

    Milestone: Results of trial

    December 2015

    Conclusions from Tasting and Growing Trials

    As the amount of data collected was relatively small, it did not show that any single variety yielded well over all locations. Further trials on a larger scale that generate more data over several sites may provide more significant results in future. These trials should be replicated at each site.

    The data from the taste-testing session did not demonstrate a clear preference for a single variety either. If this was repeated then all varieties should have been cooked in all ways, and all attendees should have tasted all the different types of potatoes. This would be time consuming, so the amount of cooking methods could possibly be reduced. The inclusion of a non industry standard, less tasty non blight resistant variety (Orla) was unhelpful as a comparison with the blight-resistant varieties. A common variety (Cara, or Maris Piper for example) could have been used as a better comparison.

    It is interesting to compare some of the grower’s comments on taste with the results of the taste test. For instance growers said that Mira was completely inedible or horrible, but when mashed 13 people scored it as 4/5, and 8 as 3/5, with only one person giving it 2/5. This suggests that more guidance on cooking the varieties might help develop the market for them.

    Milestone: Results of trial

    December 2015

    Next steps

    One of the other participants in the field lab also plans to also carry out a taste test in 2016. This data can be combined with our existing data.
    All the growers will continue to grow some of the blight resistant varieties trialled.

    Milestone: Results of trial

    November 2015

    Tattie Tasting

    After presentations from the two breeders that had supplied the potatoes for the trials, a range of the blight resistant varieties were cooked up in different ways and blind tested by the attendees.

    In the taste-testing session Carolus came out as probably being the most favoured variety in terms of taste when the scores for all methods of cooking were taken into account. Axona and Athlete also came out relatively well. Because not all varieties were cooked in all the ways, and not all attendees tasted all the varieties, it is not possible to state that Carolus was clearly favoured above all others. The non-resistant variety (Orla) was rated as least favourable in terms of both flavour and texture.

    Milestone: Tattie tasting event

    November 2015

    Trial results submitted

    Growers assessment of the varieties were submitted. Some informal feedback from other growers involved in the trial were also collected.

    Milestone: Submit results

    September 2015

    First Harvest

    Crops were harvested and assessed at two of the growing sites, but the results have not yet been submitted.

    Milestone: First harvest

    August 2015

    First report

    Varieties from one of the trialling farms were photographed, all varieties looked good. However it was a low blight year so would not have expected to see much evidence of disease at this stage. A poster of these varieties is available.

    Milestone: First report

    April 2015

    Potatoes planted

    Trial varieties were sent to growers for planting. Not all of the growers managed to plant all the varieties on the same day as their control varieties, this will be noted in the method report.

    Milestone: Plant trial and normal varieties

    January 2015

    Field lab idea

    The field lab idea and plan was created through discussions with the coordinator and group members with planting to occur in May using varieties from Agrico and Savari Trust. Further information on late blight can be found the AHDB site: http://potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/knowledge-hub/publications/late-blight-publications-and-research-reports

    Milestone: Field lab designed

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