Two new potatoes could save growers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington millions of dollars by curtailing several serious diseases and improving processing quality.
The potatoes — Echo Russet and Castle Russet — are in the hands of growers for trials thanks to the breeding efforts of Oregon State University and partners in the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program.
In Hermiston, Sagar Sathuvalli, an assistant professor of potato breeding and genetics in OSU’s College of Agriculture, works to develop potatoes resistant to diseases for an industry that was Oregon’s sixth highest producing agricultural commodity in 2016 at $187 million.
Sathuvalli said Castle Russet was bred mainly for disease resistance, while breeding work on Echo Russet focused on high-yield, good agronomic performance and good processing qualities. Most of the Oregon crop heads to processors to be turned into French fries and other potato products.