There are several potato varieties available in the market today. Most of them have been bred or developed in production regions other than Florida. The University of Florida Potato Variety Evaluation Program screens new germplasm from public and private breeding programs and identifies the most promising cultivars for commercial potential considering broad adaptability to Florida climate and conditions and market purpose: processing, fresh-market and specialty-type varieties. Over the years, the UF/IFAS Potato Variety Program has become an important reference to vegetable growers, seed producers, processors, crop insurance agencies, and brokers looking for alternative potato varieties to explore different markets, improved characteristics, and yield. This UF/Potato Variety Trials Spotlight presents a summary of the field evaluation of tuber yield and quality performance of the potato variety 'Yukon Gold' cultivated in Florida.
'Yukon Gold' is a fresh market potato variety selected from the progeny of a cross between W5279-4 and 'Norgleam' and tested under the pedigree G6666-4Y. It was released jointly by Agriculture Canada and Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Canada in 1981 (Johnston and Rowberry 1981). 'Yukon Gold' demonstrates high yield and good tuber characteristics compared to the commercial standard 'La Chipper'. Tuber production and quality results provided in this spotlight are from Florida Potato Variety Trials conducted at the UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center between 1999 and 2019.
'Yukon Gold' tubers have a buff-colored, slightly netted skin with a medium-yellow flesh color (Figure 1). According to Florida's rating codes for potato tuber characteristics (Table 1), the tubers are round to oblong oval-shaped and have intermediate to shallow pink eyes that are not well distributed, unlike other buff-skinned and yellow-fleshed varieties. 'Yukon Gold' has high yield potential with a low to medium specific gravity of 1.071 (Tables 2 and 3) under Florida production conditions. The variety shows reduced dormancy (time required for sprout emergence). Marketable yield was 214 cwt/acre on average, approximately 7% less than 'La Chipper'. Approximately 85% of the tubers were between the A1 and A3 tuber size classification (Table 2).
'Yukon Gold' is resistant to mild mosaic, moderately resistant to leafroll virus, and susceptible to virus Y, common scab (Streptomyces scabies) (Johnston and Rowberry 1981), PVY, early blight (Alternaria solani), dry rot (Fusarium spp.), silver scurf (Helminthosporium solani), black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani), and soft rot (Pectobacterium spp.) in storage (Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources 2017 ). In all trials, 'Yukon Gold' showed a slight susceptibility of 1% to internal heat necrosis, and less than 0.5% to corky ring spot and hollow heart under Florida conditions (Table 3). The standard UF/IFAS Extension recommended disease and weed control program described under Potato Production (Chapter 14 of the Vegetable Production Handbook for Florida, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv131) should be followed.
Season Length and Growth
'Yukon Gold' is an early- to medium-maturing variety under Florida growing conditions. Season length was 95 days on average from planting to harvest. This depended on weather conditions during the growing season. The plants should be harvested two weeks after vine kill to improve tuber maturation and skin set. Potatoes with proper skin set maintain better skin color, lose less weight in storage, and are more resistant to bruising and soft rot. For more information about vine killing on potatoes, see Potato Vine Killing or Desiccation (Zotarelli et al. 2016). Late in the season, tuber size should be checked regularly to harvest tubers with desirable marketable size. Soil moisture should be managed late in the season to avoid high soil moisture conditions that cause enlarged lenticels and delayed skin set.
UF/IFAS trial plots are normally fertilized with 200 to 230 lb/ac of N. The first application of 100 lb/ac of N (granular) is typically incorporated in the bed prior to planting, followed by one or two side-dress fertilizer applications at emergence and/or at tuber initiation. Phosphorus and potassium applications follow the UF/IFAS guidelines described in Liu et al. (2020) and normally range between 45 to 100 lb/ac of P2O5 and 170 to 235 lb/ac of K2O.
A seed piece of 2.5 to 3 oz is recommended for planting. Crop should be planted with 40 inches between rows and 8 inches between plants, at 3 to 4 inches deep. A seed rate of 2,000 to 3,000 lb/acre of seed is expected.
For additional information on cultivation and weed and disease management, see the Potato Production chapter of the Vegetable Production Handbook available at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv131.
Hutchinson, C. M., J. M. White, D. M. Gergela, P. A. Solano, K. G. Haynes, R. Wenrich, and C. S. Lippi. 2003. "Performance of chip processing potato varieties in northeastern Florida." HortTechnology 13 (4): 706–711. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.13.4.0706
Johnston, G. R., and R. G. Rowberry. 1981. "'Yukon Gold': A new yellow-fleshed, medium-early, high quality table and french-fry cultivar." American Potato Journal 58 (5): 241–244. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02853905
Liu, G., E. H. Simonne, K. T. Morgan, G. J. Hochmuth, S. Agehara, and R. Mylavarapu. 2020. Chapter 2. Fertilizer Management for Vegetable Production in Florida. Vegetable Production Handbook for Florida, 2020–2021 Edition. CV296. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv296
Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 2017. "Yukon Gold: Characteristics." Crop Watch. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/potato/yukongold_characteristics
Sisson, J. A., and G. A. Porter. 2002. "Performance evaluations of potato clones and varieties in the northeastern states—1999." Maine Agr. For. Expt. Sta., Misc. Publ. 751.
The Potato Association of America. 2017. "'Yukon Gold' (Solanum tuberosum)." https://www.potatoassociation.org/varieties/white-varieties/yukon-gold-solanum-tuberosum/
Zotarelli, L., P. J. Dittmar, P. D. Roberts, J. Desaeger, and B. Wells. 2020. Chapter 14. Potato Production. Vegetable Production Handbook for Florida, 2020–2021 Edition. HS733. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv131
Zotarelli, L., S. Sargent, P. Dittmar, and M. Makani. 2016. Potato Vine Killing or Desiccation. HS181. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs181
Summary of production statistics and specific gravity of 'Yukon Gold' potato variety grown at the UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center, Hastings, FL from 1999 to 2019.
Florida rating codes for potato vine maturity and tuber characteristics.
Yield, vine maturity, tuber characteristics, and internal tuber defects of 'Yukon Gold' potato variety grown at the UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center, Hastings, FL from 1999 to 2019.