Farmers, researchers and members of the public gathered at the University of Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle Wednesday to learn about the latest in potato research. “There’s a tremendous number of experiments going on,” said Greg Porter, a University of Maine agriculture professor who also leads the farm’s potato breeding program. Attendees at the field day learned about a range of trials underway at the farm, including research into different fertilizer applications, fungicide treatments for late blight, beneficial soil fungi, and the relatively new potato pathogen known as dickeya, which has created problems for Aroostook County’s seed potato industry.
Porter is one of the few potato breeders on the East Coast and stays busy managing thousands of experimental potato plants in greenhouses and fields. In one field at the research farm, there are 40 of the “most advanced” russet varieties from the farm’s breeding program being compared to five standard russet varieties commonly grown today. Read more