So What is the Story of Classic?
3/4/2011 12:49 PM
Although I only grow potatoes in my garden and have not had a problem myself I have heard alot in my travels through the exhibitions and conferences this year. So here is what I have come up with...
As you are probably aware this season has seen Classic, a new russet variety to have been widely grown for commercial production for the first time, not without it share of hiccups. How important are these hiccups or in the big picture? Or put another way, should one dump Classic seed and go back to a variety grown before?
Of course there are no easy answers but the following should be of interest --
All currently accepted varieties had their share of growing pains, problems when they were first introduced, recall Ranger, or Umatilla, or even Norkotah. But with time and attention to details, these were overcome and the potential of these varieties were realized. This is that period to fine tune management for Classic Russet.
Classic is a very good variety, it has high yield potential, it stores well for the fresh market, it taste good, aphids apparently don’t like it so much, ….
But Classic will grow forever if you keep feeding it Nitrogen, so it is important that you plan for the end of your season and turn the N off at the right time (30 days or more prior to harvest) to get proper maturity and so that the skin will set. Make sure the vines are completely killed down.
From what I have heard this may be one of the major reasons for problems this year. Seed Growers in general don’t push the yield as hard and plan N and shut it off on schedule, where some Commercial Growers may tend to get as much yield as possible, keeping the N on for a longer season, then possibly deciding at the last minute to harvest for fresh when the price is good and end up with immature tubers.
Lastly, I think the temperature and conditions at the harvest are important to minimize shatter and bruise.
Remember the bacteria and fungi are present at all times. Successful harvest, packaging and storage is about maximizing conditions for the tubers and minimizing the favorable conditions for the microorganisms. Cool temperatures and adequate moisture, but not too much are required at harvest.
I think although there were some problems in 2010 many will try this variety again with more attention to a few management details to see if indeed the advantages of this russet outweigh some of the disadvantages of its alternatives.
Please add any comments, suggestions.