Breeding colorful disease- and pest-tolerant potatoes

2006 Annual Report for FNE06-569

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2006: $3,225.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Project Leader:
Bryan Connolly
Green Dragon Farm

Breeding colorful disease- and pest-tolerant potatoes


Breeding Colorful Disease and Pest Tolerant Potatoes FNE 06-569

1) Bryan Connolly
87 Bassets Bridge rd. (new location)
Mansfield Center, CT
860-423-8304 home
860-428-8712 cell

2) The goal of this project is to breed potato leaf hopper (PLH) resistant potato varieties that have good flavor, different colors, and scab tolerance.

3) Green Dragon Farm is basically the same as when we first applied for the grant. Essentially we are part time farmers growing about 2 acres of vegetables for seed crops and farmer’s market, we grow about a quarter acre of potatoes and it is one of our major market crops. Our farm income dropped slightly this year because we had baby and we purchase a house and moved our farm to it.

4) We have been in contact with Walter de Jong and Michael Glos of Cornell for advice on the project and have had discussions with our advisor Kim Stoner at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment station. Further along in the process we will need our cooperators, essentially the breeding phase of the project is up to us to complete.

5) We planted several varieties of potatoes including Prince Hairy, Butte, Carola, Dark Red Norland, Purple Peruvian, Banana, Frontier Russet, Satina, Kueka Gold, and Purple Viking. We had planned to plant Blossom and Island Sunshine as well but they were overlooked this spring. Several varieties did not flower in sequence with Prince Hairy so crosses were not possible; Dark Red Norland was missed in this way. Others varieties such as Frontier Russet appeared male sterile with no pollen produced, so no crosses were made with that variety as well. Others such as Butte were crossed with Prince Hairy but no fruit was formed. Successful crosses that seed was obtained from were: Prince Hairy(PH) x Carola, PH x Banana, Purple Peruvian (seed parent) x PH, PH x Kueka Gold, and PH x Satina. We will grow seedlings this spring from the successful crosses and attempt the crosses again of the pollinations that did not work; we will try multiple plantings to spread out the flowering time to make it more likely for the varieties to overlap. We will observe scab tolerance this year and if any of the seedlings flower we will attempt to cross them with each other and cross them to King Hairy, Prince Hairy is no longer available on the market, and King Hairy has the same resistance to potato leaf hopper. In 2008 we will grow the seedling that result from crosses with King Hairy and do a replicated scab tolerance study with the original crosses with PH. When we have produced enough tubers we will hold a tasting event in collaboration with the Organic Seed Partnership and/or the Restoring Our Seed project.

6) Our accomplishments are that we made successful crosses of Prince Hairy with 5 other varieties as follows: Prince Hairy(PH) x Carola, PH x Banana , Purple Peruvian (seed parent) x PH, PH x Kueka Gold, and PH x Satina.
We also observed that some varieties had some other sort of potato leaf hopper resistance other than the hairs from Solanum berthaultii , Banana and Purple Peruvian had very little damage which to my knowledge has not been reported , as well as Kueka Gold which has been known. Butte was moderately resistant. As a side note Carola and Purple Viking were extremely susceptible to PLH damage.

7) The wet conditions may have been advantageous to us this year, the moisture seem to prolong the potato varieties’ flowering times.

8) N/A

9) The project did generate new ideas of how to obtain more crosses, one is flowering time and doing multiple plantings to ensure overlap, the other is grafting potatoes to tomato root stock which is how most professional potato breeders do their crosses. Also we have learned that All Red is a variety with PLH resistance from something other than the hairs, we may include this in the breeding project. After the project is done I think one of the major hurtles will be getting the varieties to be offered by a seed potato company.

10) Bryan Connolly Febuary 4, 2007


Kim Stoner

Techincal Advisor
P.O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504
Office Phone: 2039748480