Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Growth parameters of potatoes are influenced by the source of seed

We investigated growth parameters from 28 varieties of potatoes, the seeds of which originated from different altitudes. It is known that different climatic conditions influence the physiological age of seed tubers. We hypothesised that seed originating from higher altitudes is physiologically younger due to a shorter growing period and lower temperatures. Therefore the number of stems and tubers per plant may be reduced as a result of stronger apical dominance and reduced number of sprouts.<br>Generally, seed tubers originating from higher altitudes showed i) a lower number of stems and tubers per plant, and ii) a lower percentage of virus-infected plants compared to seed originating from lower altitudes. However tuber yield was not affected by the altitude of the source of the seed, since tuber number per stem and the mean tuber weight of plants originating from higher altitudes were increased. Appropriate presprouting and favourable growing conditions may counterbalance the effects of different physiological age.

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