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Risks associated with use of single drop potato tubers versus cut seed potato pieces for propagation

Kasia Duelllman: University of Idaho

<div>Use of single drop potato tubers (small, whole tubers ranging in size from about 50g to 70g) for propagation is a common practice outside of North America. However, in the United States, the use of cut seed, where potato tubers of various sizes are mechanically cut into smaller seed pieces (typically targeting a size range of about 55g to 70g), is more common. Although the use of single drop seed potatoes may reduce risk of some tuber-borne diseases, the practice can potentially increase the risk of other tuber-borne diseases, such as Rhizoctonia stem canker. Previous work in southeastern Idaho showed cut seed treated with protectant fungicides performed as well as or better than single drop seed for ‘Russet Burbank,’ and in some years, single drop seed led to increased incidence of Rhizoctonia stem canker. However, this earlier work failed to examine the effect of protectant fungicide seed treatment on the performance of single drop seed. From 2011 to 2017, field trials were conducted in southeastern Idaho to compare performance of cut seed pieces with single drop seed potatoes, either treated with a protectant fungicide or left non-treated. Regardless of seed type used, use of an appropriate protectant fungicide on seed enhanced performance. Based on these results and previous work, the benefits and risks of using cut seed will be discussed.</div>