Prepared by Susie Thompson, Ph.D. and Robert D. Davidson, Ph.D., Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, San Luis Valley Research Center, Colorado State University
This profile was developed for production in the San Luis Valley. While some guidelines may be appropriate regardless of growing area, fine-tuning for specific production locales is recommended.
Yukon Gold is an early maturing cultivar, released in 1980 by Agriculture Canada, University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture (American Potato Journal 58:241-244, 1981). Yukon Gold was tested as G666-4Y. It is the result of a cross between Norgleam and W5279-4. Yukon Gold is an attractive, yellow-fleshed, potato cultivar. Primary use is for the fresh market. It is particularly suited for baking, salad and soup. Yukon Gold may process if fried directly from the field, but not following cold storage. It is widely adapted in North America and performs very well in the San Luis Valley.
Plant/roots: Plants emerge quickly with a medium, upright vine, and a slight tendency to spread as maturity approaches. Vines exhibit a purplish pigmentation, particularly in lower foliage. Flowers are pale, red-purple and not overly abundant. Yukon Gold has a determinate growth habit. The root system is somewhat compact.
Tubers: Tubers have light yellow flesh, are round to oval, smooth and slightly flattened, with pale yellow skin. Eyes are shallow, pink and tend to be distributed near the bud end. Specific gravity levels are medium (1.080).
Yield potential: Yield potential is medium, with a range of about 380 to 400 cwt. per acre, with proper management. A very high percentage of marketable tubers are produced if high plant density and low nitrogen rates are utilized.
Pre-plant considerations: Tubers have medium dormancy. Yukon Gold characteristically produces few stems and tuber set tends to be low. Whole or cut seed is acceptable, however, cut seed may increase stem numbers, aiding in limiting oversized tubers late in the season. Eyes tend to be most prevalent on the bud end and often one side of the stem end has no eyes. Eye distribution is light (about 8 per tuber), thus avoid large seed which may result in blind seed pieces or few stems per plant. Tuber size is also controlled through closer within-row seed spacing. Avoid prolonged warming of seed to minimize excessive sprouting and physiological aging (no more than two weeks at 60 F). Precutting may age seed physiologically, as well, but research in Colorado indicates this may not be a significant problem if proper storage conditions after cutting are utilized. Avoid planting seed in cool soils, since delayed emergence may aggravate Rhizoctonia stem canker and result in reduced fertilizer uptake. Plant 4 inches deep in a broad, well-shaped hill to minimize late season greening.
Fertility: Apply total fertilizer in the range: N(120-180#), P(100-200#), K(0-60#). Pre-plant N applications are critical for early vine growth necessary to support maximum yields. This should be in a range of 70-120#, do not exceed 80# on lighter soils. Sprinkler applied N should be in the range of 60-70#. Do not exceed 20# per application.
Irrigation: The interval at the maximum ET is approximately 2.5 to 3 days. Drought tolerance is low. Mid season this cultivar wilts easily. Producers should closely monitor late season irrigation, to prevent creating ideal conditions for expression of diseases such as blackleg, pink rot and leak.
Weeds: Weed competition is moderate for Yukon Gold. It is not sensitive to major potato herbicides.
Insects: Standard insect control measures are suitable, however timing and rotation of pesticides is important due to preference by aphids and virus spread.
Fungicides: Three to five fungicide applications may be necessary to control foliar early blight.
Tuberization/bulking: Tuber set is light to medium (about 7 tubers per plant) and high in the hill. Greening may be a problem without proper hill conformation. Tuber bulking occurs in a short interval during early to mid-season at an extremely rapid rate.
Vine Kill: Average days from planting to vine senescence is 90 to 100. Adequate skin set occurs in 14 to 21 days. Tubers may become excessively large late in the season, so close monitoring of size is warranted by 90 days from planting.
Yukon Gold stores well and generally develops few problems early. However, leak, pink rot, soft rot and silver scurf may become serious when proper field and storage management are not practiced. Rough handling may increase the potential for Fusarium dry rot infections. Yukon Gold has traditionally not been considered a long-term storage cultivar.
Potato early dying, caused by Verticillium dahliae is a problem in some years, but can be easily confused with natural vine senescence. Bacterial ring rot symptom expression is adequate with symptoms showing within 90 days after planting. Yukon Gold is susceptible to PVY infection and infected plants are easy to detect. However, virus spread is rarely a major problem.
Foliar early blight Susceptible*
Verticillium wilt Susceptible
Seedpiece decay Susceptible
Leafroll virus Moderately Resistant
Leafroll net necrosis Moderately Resistant
PVX Tolerant/Resistant to mild mosaic
Common scab Moderately Susceptible
Powdery scab Susceptible
Bacterial ring rot Susceptible
Late blight Susceptible
Tuber early blight Susceptible
Bacterial soft rot Susceptible
Fusarium dry rot Susceptible
Pythium leak Susceptible
Pink rot (P. erythroseptica) Susceptible
Silver scurf Susceptible
Rhizoctonia scurf Susceptible
*Disease reaction ratings = susceptible, moderately susceptible, moderate, moderately resistant and resistant.