PEI experiments with new russet varieties - The Packer

PEI experiments with new russet varieties

11/03/2011 03:12:00 PM
Andy Nelson

The burbank russet remains king on Prince Edward Island, but growers continue to trial-run spuds.

Linkletter Farms Ltd., Summerside, Prince Edward Island, is always experimenting with new russet varieties, said Gary Linkletter, president and co-owner.

“There are a lot of new russets to try,” he said.

“Some are discarded, some we’ll double the acreage on.”

But it typically takes years of trials before any new varieties enter significant production, Linkletter said. The classic is one newer russet variety that seems to be gaining a foothold among some PEI growers.

As far as non-russet varieties go, reds are making a bit of a comeback this season, Linkletter said. Yukon gold acreage, however, is not expected to rise, he said.

“It’s very hard to make them pay the bills,” Linkletter said.

Russets remain the dominant variety on Prince Edward Island, and burbanks are still the top russet, said Greg Donald, general manager of the Charlottetown-based Prince Edward Island Potato Board.

Russets make up 60% or more of island plantings, and most are burbanks, though goldrushes are another common russet variety among PEI growers, Donald said.

The balance is made up mostly of reds and yukon golds, he said.

The prospect, from Charlottetown-based Cavendish Produce, is a new variety gaining ascendancy on the island, said Brian Beaton, potato coordinator for the Charlottetown-based Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture.

Yukon golds are on a bit of a downward curve because of some susceptibilities to a virus, Beaton said.



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