The long growing season in the Columbia Basin, combined with well-drained soils, quality irrigation water and warm days and cool nights help over 200 crops thrive. HAREC researchers study many of them, but the station is best known for potatoes.
Potatoes are the primary crop in the region, in terms of farm gate receipts and employment. The potato-processing behemoth Lamb-Weston has a large plant just down the road from HAREC.
Potato varietal development research will help identify new potato varieties and cultural and postharvest management practices that will provide profitable, sustainable production for the grower, improved competitiveness for the potato industry, a healthy, inexpensive food supply for American consumers, and contribute to a healthy environment.
HAREC has potato variety selection and evaluation trials, and research on the effects of nitrogen fertilization and water rate on tuber yield and quality. Evaluation of advanced selections for field resistance to early dying, potato leaf roll virus, potato virus Y, and nematodes.
Sagar Sathuvalli, an OSU potato breeder in Hermiston, cultivates disease-resistant potato varieties. In 2018, the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program, of which OSU is a member, released Echo Russet and Castle Russet for grower trials.