Miller, a potato breeder with Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M University department of horticultural sciences in College Station, has breeding trials near Springlake and Dalhart.
Selections are made from seedlings grown in breeding plots each year, he said. The children of these "families," as the parent plants are known in potato breeding, are grown in the test plots.
"About 100,000 children were raised this year from about 660 families in the Springlake and Dalhart trials," Miller said.
"Over the years, we've had a number of challenges," Miller said. "Most recently, the potato industry has been concerned about a disease called zebra chip, which causes the potato to turn dark in a striped pattern when fried.
"It's a major problem with the chip industry, so we have been screening different varieties looking for tolerance and/or resistance to the vector that carries this disease – the potato psyllid."
Miller said they have developed some very successful varieties over the years to meet growers' needs.
"When our program started, the average yields of the Texas summer crop were about 200 hundred-pound sacks per acre," he said. "Now they've reached an average yield of 460 hundred-pound sacks per acre – the highest in the nation among the 11 summer-crop states. So we feel this reflects the success of our program with improved varieties and cultural practices as well."
Bruce Barrett, who has cooperated with Miller for more than 25 years and allows 11 acres of his farm south of Springlake to be used in the Texas Potato Variety Development Program, agreed that Miller's work has been helpful.
"Several selections that they've made out of these trials are now the standard for us in the russet potatoes," Barrett said. "We grow Texas strains of Norkotah that Creighton developed, so obviously it was a huge thing. They have a more vigorous vine and, without them, we wouldn't be in the russet business."
Barrett said he's counting on future help from these trials also.
"Now we are facing the psyllid problem, and so hopefully with Creighton's help and the rest of the researchers and their efforts, we can take care of that problem too," he said.
Barrett said 2011 has been one of the hardest years to grow potatoes as far as environmental conditions – early cold to late freeze to heat and wind with no moisture, and low humidity – and noted "the plants didn't like it."
He said the potato crop started with very low yields as harvest began and is now about average, but there have been problems with heat sprouting and more misshaped tubers than normal.
"But I think we'll have a crop," Barrett said. "As always with a vegetable crop, weather makes it tough. It's always a compromise on decisions. It's not perfect, but we will get through it."
In Miller's trials, growers can see potatoes of different sizes and different colors, such as russet, red and yellow skinned, purple flesh, yellow flesh and selections for the potato chip market.
A booklet published from the trials tells the name, size, parenthood, maturing timing, vine size and what market a particular potato is grown for, such as specialty, fresh or chipping, he said. It also outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each selection.
"We are developing a variety with red skin and yellow flesh that looks good this year," Miller said. "The yellow flesh potatoes are more popular now – Yukon Gold has made them more popular and we are developing many different types of potatoes to reach that market."
All the information from both the Springlake and Dalhart field trials will be available at http://potato.tamu.edu.
For more information on the AgriLife Research potato breeding program, contact Miller at 979-845-3828 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Creighton Miller | EurekAlert!
Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München
Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology