A Collaborative Research Project Evaluating Greensprouting as a Sustainable Pre-Planting Treatment for Seed Potato Minitubers Under Diverse Growing Conditions

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $27,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Melissa Boersema
Sklarczyk Seed Farm LLC

Information Products

2019 Great Lakes Expo Poster (Conference/Presentation Material)


  • Agronomic: potatoes


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, seed 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 procedures 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 that will be effective regardless of growing conditions. It will maximize yield on the cultivated land already in use for potato production without need for additional inputs from growers including a larger farming footprint, increased pesticide applications, or longer days for busy farmers.

    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 replicated randomized block designs at 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 inches at test plots in Michigan and North Dakota. Plant vitality, days to emergence and overall yield will be monitored and analyzed.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate a sustainable seed potato pre-planting treatment procedure that will be possible to implement on a large scale within the potato industry.
    2. Perform field trial experiments at multiple farms to provide a Greensprouting standard that can be adopted industry-wide.
    3. Evaluate the effectiveness of Greensprouting at increasing seed potato yields when planted at multiple depths.
    4. Develop an industry engagement program to share experimental findings through social media, website development, field days, poster publication, and conference presentation.
    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.