The University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board Release the New Potato Variety, Caribou Russet

News Release

The University of Maine (UM) and the Maine Potato Board (MPB) have released a new potato variety, Caribou Russet. The Caribou Russet was tested under the research identification number (AF3362-1) and resulted from a cross between Silverton Russet and Reeves Kingpin. Developed by the University of Maine, the new variety is a dual-purpose, russet-skinned variety with high yields, mid-season maturity and moderate common scab resistance. It is also resistant to golden nematode race Ro1 and is moderately resistant to Verticillium wilt. The new variety has good baked and mashed quality for fresh market consumption and is also expected to be useful for processing markets.

In addressing the release of this new variety, Tim Hobbs, director of development and grower relations for the MPB, said, “Potatoes are bred for a multitude of characteristics. Everything from disease resistance to improved fry color. To get the right combination of characteristics in one variety takes a large investment in time and resources. Eventually this investment pays off. The result of the investment in Maine is the release of this new variety out of the breeding program that Dr. Greg Porter oversees at the University of Maine.”

Following along with the two varieties released last year, the Easton and Sebec, the MPB directors voted to license the Caribou Russet, which Dr. Porter named after the city in central Aroostook County.

The new variety has long tubers with lightly russeted skin and white flesh. The Caribou Russet features large plants with excellent early vigor and mid-season maturity. Caribou Russet produces very good yields and has had good fry color, especially when compared to Russet Burbank after 120 days or less. US#1 yields have averaged 130% of Russet Burbank in side-by-side trials. US#1 yields have averaged 122% those of the fresh market standard, Russet Norkotah. The variety has had very low levels of hollow heart to date (much less than Russet Burbank or Russet Norkotah). Baked scores have been good and it produces good mashed potatoes; however, boiled scores have been inconsistent.

A limited amount of early generation seed is available from the Maine Seed Potato Board and from growers in Maine. The Maine Certified Seed Potato Directory has information on commercial seed availability. The process of submitting a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) application for Caribou Russet is underway. Anyone interested in obtaining a sublicense to grow Caribou Russet should contact the Maine Potato Board.

The partnership between the UM and the MPB serves both parties well and even better for the Maine potato industry. “The university has the research and development capability and commitment for developing new potato varieties, from the lab to the field, which takes years,” said Don Flannery, MPB executive director. “They understand what the growers and the industry are looking for and need. We in turn, the MPB, have the capacity to promote the varieties and maintain the quality of seed required for the integrity of the variety and the market. We are already fielding questions from growers around the country as well as in Maine. This partnership is truly advantageous for the industry.”

For More Information:
Elizabeth Sutherland, APR
Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications