Photo credit: T. Shinners-Carnelley
To evaluate new potato selections from the AAFC National Potato Breeding Program across the country to determine the adaptability of the lines to different climatic regions.
To evaluate the local adaptability of French fry, fresh market and chip potato varieties and promising selections from a wide range of public and private sources.
AAFC National Potato Variety Trials
The objective of the trials program is to evaluate new early selection potato clones from AAFC’s National Potato Breeding Program across the country to determine the adaptability of the lines to different climatic regions. Selections are evaluated in national field trialing year 1 (Tier I) year 2 (Tier II) in this program. Identified promising selections may be offered for further field evaluation in replicated trials under the Provincial Variety Evaluation Trials program.
Tier I Trials (Year 1 of national trialing)
The New Brunswick trial sites were not planted in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Trials did proceed at seven locations across Canada: Charlottetown PE, Sainte-Croix QC, Elora ON, Winkler MB, Carberry MB, Outlook SK and Brooks AB (two demonstration sites were planted in AB and BC).
Twenty-one selections and 8 check varieties were evaluated at each location, including fresh market, chipping and French fry types. Trials were planted, grown and harvested following commercial production practices common in the local area.
Tier II (Year 2 of national trialing)
Two selections were advanced and evaluated against 8 check varieties in trials with 2 replicates at all locations.
Early Selection Evaluation
In addition, very early selections identified at AAFC New Brunswick from Field Year 3 and 4 of the AAFC National Potato Breeding Program were grown at select trial sites to gain information about how the selections would perform at sites outside of New Brunswick and to gain feedback from industry on the selections earlier in the pipeline.
For the Field Year 3 selections, fresh market and French fry selections were evaluated in Manitoba, whereas chip and fresh market selections were evaluated in Ontario.
For the Field Year 4 selections, all three market types were grown in Manitoba and fresh market and chip selections were grown in Ontario.
Provincial Variety Evaluation Trials
The provincial variety evaluation trials are designed to allow the local evaluation of adaptability of promising new varieties or selections across Canada. Selections from the AAFC National Potato Breeding Program in national field trialing year-5 or later may be evaluated. Varieties or selections from private breeding programs, university breeding programs in the US, Canadian agents, and other variety developers may be included in the provincial trials at the determination of the funding provincial organizations.
Field trials continued in 2020 at most locations as planned, although the size of the trials were reduced at a few locations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Varieties and selections (fresh market, chipping and French fry types) were grown at seven sites across Canada and compared to standard varieties for agronomic and quality characteristics.
Replicated field trials were conducted in Prince Edward Island (Harrington), Quebec (Ste-Croix; L’Assomption), Ontario (Elora), Manitoba (Winkler – fresh market), Alberta (Brooks) and British Columbia (East Delta).
Grower field days were cancelled at many locations or held with reduced participants or held virtually due COVID-19 restrictions.
The number and types of varieties and selections evaluated at each location is available in the Summary Table of the Provincial Evaluation Trials.