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Potato cultivar response to seasonal drought patterns

J. C. Stark, S. L. Love, B. A. King, J. M. Marshall, W. H. Bohl, T. Salaiz
American journal of potato research 2013 v.90 no. pp. 207-216
Solanum tuberosum, crop yield, cultivars, drought, drought tolerance, field experimentation, irrigation rates, irrigation scheduling, potatoes, seasonal variation, water supply, water use efficiency
The ability to minimize potato yield and quality losses due to drought can be greatly improved by understanding the relative responses of different cultivars to seasonal variations in water supply. To address this need, we initiated a two year field experiment to determine the responses of the six potato cultivars to different seasonal drought patterns, including 1) full season irrigation at 100% ET, 2) irrigation at 100% ET terminated during late bulking , 3) full season irrigation at 70% ET , 4) irrigation at 70% ET terminated during late bulking , and 5) a gradual reduction in irrigation from 100% ET during tuber initiation through early bulking, to 70% ET during mid-bulking, and 50% ET through late bulking. GemStar Russet and Ranger Russet, two medium-late maturing cultivars, generally produced the highest yields across the range of drought treatments, but both were fairly sensitive to changes in drought severity. Alturas, a late maturing cultivar, produced relatively high yields with full irrigation, but exhibited the greatest sensitivity to increasing drought severity, particularly when severe late-season water deficits were imposed. Yields for the early maturing cultivar Russet Norkotah were relatively low overall, but it was the least sensitive to changes in drought severity, particularly when late season drought was imposed. Russet Burbank produced comparatively high total yields across the range of drought treatments, but U.S. No. 1 yields were substantially reduced by each seasonal drought pattern. However, it was less sensitive to changes in drought severity than GemStar Russet, Ranger Russet and Alturas. Total and U.S. No. 1 yields for Summit Russet were low for each drought treatment and it exhibited intermediate sensitivity to changes in drought severity. GemStar Russet had the highest water use efficiency based on U.S. No. 1 yield.