Field studies were conducted in 1986 and 1987 to evaluate the potential of using canopy temperature measurements to evaluate the relative drought tolerance of potato genotypes. In both years, 14 potato genotypes representing a relatively wide range of Solarium tuberosum L. germplasm were grown under well-watered [irrigation ≈100% potential evapotranspiration (ET) and stressed (irrigation ≈40% to 50% potential ET) coditions. Irrigation differences were imposed with a line source irrigation system. Canopy temperatures of the 14 genotypes were measured between 0900 and 1430 hr on 7 clear days during tuber bulking. A general linear relationship between canopy minus air temperature (ΔT) and air vapor pressure deficit (VPD) was determined for each year by regressing all ΔT data onto corresponding VPD values. The relative sensitivity of each genotype to changes in VPD was determined by regressing observed ΔT values onto the estimated ΔT from the general equation for that year. Genotypes with higher than average temperatures under well-watered conditions were generally less sensitive to changes in VPD than those with lower than average temperatures. Warmer genotypes under well-watered conditions were also generally less susceptible to drought than cooler genotypes. Thus, ΔT measurements from well-watered plots can be effectively used to assess the relative drought tolerance of potato genotypes.
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