|Ryan Barrett||Prince Edward Island Potato Board|
|David Main||Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada|
|Rick Peters||Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada|
The use of ethylene for both sprout inhibition and seed tuber accumulation has become common in Western Europe; however, this technology is not yet registered in Canada. Two years’ worth of trials were performed to assess the use of the ethylene under controlled, plot-scale research conditions. Seed potato tubers from a number of representative processing cultivars were subjected to a constant concentration of ethylene gas in a temperature-controlled, air-tight storage at AAFC Harrington Farm for approximately ninety (90) days prior to planting, compared with the control group of tubers from the same seed sources that were held at a similar temperature without exposure to ethylene. Potatoes were then planted in paired blocks (by variety) in a randomized complete block design and evaluated for emergence, stem number, tuber number, and total yield according to a seed standard. The trial was conducted at two sites. Data was pooled from the two sites.
Among the cultivars tested, ethylene-treated Russet Burbank showed significantly higher tuber numbers and total yield versus control in both 2018 and 2019 (p < 0.05). Ethylene-treated Payette Russet showed significantly higher tuber numbers, stems per plant and total yield versus control in 2019 (the only year it was tested). There was a non-significant effect on Dakota Russet in both years for tuber numbers but a significant effect on average tuber size in favour of the ethylene treatment in 2019. Other cultivars generally saw no significant effect from the use of ethylene. No processing cultivars demonstrated a significant negative effect from the use of ethylene under these research conditions.