A Growers Guide to Quality Potato Seed

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Merk, Emily
Major Professor
Dr. Mark Gleason
Dr. Ellen Mullen
Committee Member
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Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the Department of Entomology officially merged as of September 1, 2022. The new department is known as the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology (PPEM). The overall mission of the Department is to benefit society through research, teaching, and extension activities that improve pest management and prevent disease. Collectively, the Department consists of about 100 faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in research, teaching, and extension activities that are central to the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Department possesses state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in the Advanced Research and Teaching Building and in Science II. In addition, research and extension activities are performed off-campus at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, the Horticulture Station, the Agriculture Engineering/Agronomy Farm, and several Research and Demonstration Farms located around the state. Furthermore, the Department houses the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, the Iowa Soybean Research Center, the Insect Zoo, and BugGuide. Several USDA-ARS scientists are also affiliated with the Department.
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Unlike traditional true seed, potato seed is a vegetatively propagated crop. A potato tuber can be uncut (single drop), cut once, twice or in some cases, three times. These seed pieces are then treated with some fungicide or pesticide, covered in a protective coating and planted into the ground. Starting with a healthy mother plant that produces daughter tubers for cutting is important because those characteristics exhibited in the mother plant will also be exhibited within the daughter tubers. For this reason there are many factors that should go into choosing the right quality of seed to utilize for commercial production. After some research, four main characteristics that affect the quality of potato seed have been determined: physiological age, seed genetics, size and seed health. These four characteristics can have a substantial effect on the vigor, health and overall outcome of a crop. These characteristics should be considered when purchasing seed to ensure growers are buying high-quality seed. Purchasing certified seed plays a large role in the seed health aspect and there will be a brief discussion on seed certification programs. The intent of this manual is to describe the importance of potato seed quality, explore the process of potato seed production from the seed grower to the commercial grower, and to define the characteristics of high-quality potato seed.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019