View Single Post
Old December 21, 2009   #10
Tom Wagner
Crosstalk™ Forum Moderator
Tom Wagner's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: 8407 18th Ave West 7-203 Everett, Washington 98204
Posts: 1,157

I thought it might be timely to add a link to support some of my reasoning for providing TPS to the readers.

Most farmers still plant tomorrow's potatoes by using part of yesterday's crop. A small, but growing number, however, are using disease- and pest-free planting material grown from true potato seed (TPS).
TPS has many advantages over planting tuber seeds. One is the obvious difference between storing and transporting tons of tubers versus grams of true seed. Farmers who normally plant a hectare of potatoes using two tons of seed tubers can achieve the same or better results by planting as few as 100 grams of TPS. Low cost is another TPS benefit: it costs about $1200 to plant one hectare of high- tuber seed, while TPS (100 grams) costs about $80 per hectare.
TPS also gives farmers access to superior varieties. Enormous quantities of a newly developed resistant variety can be in farmers' hands within a season or two, versus the 10 years it can take to produce enough tuber seed to have an impact in the field.
But the seed isn't sown directly into the field like wheat or maize. It is first sown in a seedbed, like tomatoes, and then transplanted into the field as seedlings.
Initially, the problem with TPS was the difficulty in producing potatoes that were uniform in shape, color, size, and performance—a requirement of the food industry. Instead of producing a genetically identical clone of the mother plant, as is the case when growers use seed tubers, each plant grown from open- TPS is genetically different. Potato plants produce flowers and berries that contain from 100 to 400 true seeds. But the seeds germinate into seedlings with varied characteristics not genetically true to the plant that produced them.
CIP scientists, however, have now broken down pollination and dormancy barriers to produce high-disease-resistant, uniform varieties of hybrid true seed.
Many of my clones grown independently of the CIP organization are also a result of my research and development of pollination and dormancy barriers. I don't think it is a bad thing for someone to reinvent the potato locally as we all benefit from new ideas and varieties. All of the true seed of my Skagit Valley Gold variety potato is naturally hybridized since it has a self incompatibility factor with its own pollen. I will daresay that hybrid vigor is better than TPS from naturally selfed berries.
Tom Wagner is offline   Reply With Quote