A Proof of Concept Experiment Evaluating a Greensprouting Pre-Planting Treatment to Increase Seed Potato Yields and Develop Sustainable Practices within the Potato Industry

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Melissa Boersema
Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC

Information Products


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: potatoes


  • Crop Production: postharvest treatment, preplanting treatment

    Proposal summary:

    At this time, no industry standard exists for the pre-planting treatment of seed potato minitubers, despite potatoes being the third most important crop worldwide. The proper preparation of minitubers through Greensprouting (or chitting) procedures and optimal planting depth practices has the potential of doubling overall production of year one seed potatoes. We believe that through experimentation a low investment, high return standard procedure can be developed in order to maximize yield on the cultivated land already in use for potato production without the need of additional inputs from growers such as a larger farming footprint, increased pesticide applications, or additional man-hours during the busiest times of the year.

    Greensprouting will be accomplished by removing minitubers from a 35° storage environment several weeks before planting, then placing them in indirect light at 70°and gently rotating every three days. Short, green sprouts will develop, indicating that the minitubers have broken dormancy and are ready to be planted. Control minitubers will receive similar treatment for only three days prior to planting. All minitubers will be planted in a randomized block design at 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 inches. Plant vitality, days to emergence and overall yield will be monitored and analyzed.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify a sustainable seed potato pre-planting treatment procedure that will be possible to implement on a large scale within the potato
    2. Perform a proof-of-concept field trial experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of the pre-planting treatment on increasing seed potato yield at a variety of planting
    3. Develop an industry engagement program to share experimental findings through the use of social media, field days, poster publication, and conference
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.