Potato producers rely heavily on herbicides for the majority of weed control. However, recent occurrences of herbicide-resistant weed populations and the lack of new herbicide registrations have stimulated interest in alternative strategies. The choice of potato cultivars that can suppress or tolerate weed competition could be a component of an integrated weed management system to reduce reliance on herbicides. The competitive ability of 10 potato cultivars—‘Atlantic’, ‘Bannock Russet’, ‘Dark Red Norland’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘Rodeo’, ‘Russet Burbank’, ‘Russet Norkotah’, ‘Snowden’, ‘Superior’, and ‘Villetta Rose’—was evaluated in 2006 and 2007 in Hancock, WI. Weed competition treatments included (1) weedy throughout the season, (2) weed-free from emergence to 4 wk after emergence (WAE) by hand-weeding, and (3) weed-free by hand-weeding for the entire season. Potato cultivars did not differ in ability to reduce weed biomass. Early-season time of potato emergence and canopy closure, as well as weed competition treatments, were strongly related to potato tuber yield. In general, Bannock Russet yield relative to weed-free controls of the same cultivar was less than that of most other cultivars. Overall, Atlantic, Russet Burbank, Snowden, and Superior yields (relative to weed-free control yields) usually were greater than the yields of other cultivars under weedy conditions. Although the ability to suppress weeds was similar among cultivars, differences in yield among cultivars grown in the presence of weeds suggest differential tolerances of weed competition.
Nomenclature: Potato, Solanum tuberosum ‘Atlantic’, ‘Bannock Russet’, ‘Dark Red Norland’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘Rodeo’, ‘Russet Burbank’, ‘Russet Norkotah’, ‘Snowden’, ‘Superior’, ‘Villetta Rose’.