The County interviews Porter for report on potato research

The County interviewed Greg Porter, a professor of crop ecology and management at the University of Maine, for a report on a field day at UMaine’s Aroostook Research Farm, and ongoing potato research. Porter leads the potato breeding program at the farm, the largest of UMaine’s five agricultural experiment stations, the article states. Research at the farm covers the development of potato varieties with resistance to disease and pests, sustainable management of potato diseases and pests, crop rotation and other topics related to growing potatoes. “It takes about 12–14 years to develop a new potato variety. Each variety has to do many things well,” Porter said. Forty varieties of russet potatoes “have been tested in fields in northern Maine for six years. Maybe one or two of those will go into commercialization,” said Porter, who manages thousands of varieties, many of which never are grown again if they do not have market potential. A key focus of the program is breeding potatoes to be resistant or immune to potato virus Y, a pathogen that stunts growth and can impact multiple generations of the crop, The County reports. The farm will display tubers from some potential potato varieties to the public on Sept. 12. PotatoPro carried the article from The County.