Idaho Seed Potato Germplasm Lab Benefits Growers Across The PNW Beyond
Earlier this spring, the University of Idaho unveiled its new multimillion dollar Seed Potato Germplasm lab on the Moscow campus. Jenny Durrin, Director of the Seed Potato Germplasm Program, noted the state of the art facility actually got its start in 2016 when school and industry officials started conversations to address growing needs for producers statewide. Durrin added the lab will benefit growers across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. She said the Seed Potato Germplasm Program at the U of I works with Tri-State Potato Breeding Program to create new varieties.
“Now, these new varieties have different aspects about them of interest to them. Some have low glycemic index, some are drought tolerant, some have different disease resistances, and these new varieties are not just of interest for Idaho, but people all across the United States are interested in trialing these new varieties and internationally.”
Durrin noted they toured other labs, including UC Davis’ new strawberry lab, when designing the Seed Potato Germplasm lab.
Why is the new lab in the panhandle, when most potatoes are grown in the southern part of the state? She said having the facility in the panhandle is advantageous, noting customers will pay extra for shipping since these starts are disconnected from the growing areas.
“Where the mini tubers are produced, there isn’t a potato field for hundreds of miles so the security is there. Because of the different pathogens that are vectored by specific insects that could possibly be on those potato fields and then be introduced into our greenhouse, we don’t have that threat here, because we don’t have the potato fields around our greenhouses.”
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org