Foundation Sweetpotato Seed Program in Virginia

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  • 1 Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Painter, VA 23420.

A procedure is described for maintaining root quality in a foundation seed program that serves a primarily processing industry. Trueness-to-cultivar root type and color is maintained through hill selections within the prefoundation seed at harvest. Internal color is examined after sprout production, but prior to planting. Each root of the prefoundation seed is lifted and cut. If any sectorial chimeras are visible or the internal color is lighter than expected for that cultivar, all sprouts from that root are discarded. Otherwise, sprouts are planted to generate prefoundation seed. Prefoundation roots not selected by hill selection are given to designated growers for production of foundation seed. Contracts with growers for foundation seed and seed distribution are the responsibility of the Virginia Crop Improvement Assn. (P.O. Box 78, Mt. Holly, VA 22524). Hill selection of `Hayman', a white-skinned, white-fleshed cultivar, over the past 20 years has essentially eliminated strings and nonenlarged roots. Improved root shape and smoothness has resulted in increased regional consumer demand for this specialty crop.

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