WA Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance unveiled the new White Star potato, which is expected to bring benefits to both Western Australian consumers and growers.
The White Star potato was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food to provide the WA potato industry with a new and improved variety for winter production.
Announcing the new variety at the Perth Royal Show, Mr Chance said White Star offered higher production yields, larger sized potatoes and improved culinary quality.
White Star has a much higher starch level than the popular Nadine potatoes and produces a higher yield of large tubers which will minimise the excess production of small potatoes in winter,? he said.
This new variety overcomes the problems of other winter potato crops which have produced poor yields due to storm and wind damage, heavy rain, disease, frost, low temperatures, short days and lack of sunshine.
White Star has been outstanding in May plantings, having better appearance than Delaware, better yield than Nadine, larger tubers and better quality than both.
White Star also had good tolerance to production diseases such as powdery scab.
The development of White Star has benefits all around, for farmers and consumers.
The Minister said the Department of Agriculture and Food investigated about 200 potato breeding lines brought into WA every year, which included four years of evaluation under local conditions. White Star was bred by Agriculture and Food Victoria and selected and developed in WA.
He said potential new varieties were tested for several more years with industry in ever increasing commercial quantities. These commercial scale tests allowed the varieties performance to be assessed by packers, retailers and consumers.
Commercial testing of White Star took place from 2002 to 2005, with retail testing by Western Potatoes.
Western Potatoes chief executive officer Ray Wilson said the data on yield, pack-out and consumer reaction collected from commercial tests convinced the potato industry of the value of White Star.
While WA has a relatively small domestic market for potatoes, the benefits of introducing new fresh market varieties helps to increase supply to the market, expand the market and provide import substitution during the winter period, he said.
White Star will be a valuable addition to the commercial potato varieties available in WA.
Mr Wilson said that during retail testing, 43 per cent of consumers polled rated the smooth appearance of White Star as excellent and 49 per cent rated it as good.
Customers were also given cooked samples of White Star and 89 per cent assessed its taste as good to excellent. Consumers described White Star as having a creamy, smooth texture.
The development of White Star was funded by the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Potato Producers Committee of the Agricultural Produce Commission and Horticulture Australia Ltd.