Yukon Gold: Characteristics

Characteristics | Management Profile | Performance

 Yukon Gold was crossed and developed at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in the 1960s and 70s, and released in 1980 by Agriculture Canada at the University of Guelph (Johnston and Rowberry. 1981. Amer Potato Jour 58:241-244). As a yellow-fleshed cultivar, it was considered a specialty or gourmet variety and didn't gain popularity until the past few years. Last year, over 160 acres of Yukon Gold were grown for seed in Nebraska and over 1800 seed acres nationwide. It has become a popular supermarket sale commanding a premium price from shoppers.

Due to Yukon Gold's new found popularity and since several Nebraska growers are producing this variety, it is time to review its characteristics and present information known for managing its production.

Yukon Gold tubersYukon Gold flowerYukon Gold plant

Yukon Gold Tubers            Yukon Gold Flower  Yukon Gold Plant

Summary of Plant Characteristics

  • Purpose -- fresh market - boil and bake, possible for French frying
  • Maturity -- early to mid season similar to Superior; determinate
  • Vine -- medium, very erect, some tendency to spread
  • Flowers -- violet to light violet; low frequency
  • Leaves -- olive green, moderately shiny
  • Stem -- 1 to 3 per plant
  • Root -- moderately compact
  • Emergence -- rapid
  • Set -- few tubers set high
  • Bulking -- early and very rapid
  • Dormancy -- medium to long
  • Eyes -- shallow, pinkish; few and not well distributed
  • Tuber Color -- light yellow flesh
  • Tuber Skin -- yellowish white, smooth
  • Tuber Shape -- slightly oval and flattened, width to length = 88
  • Yield -- medium
  • Specific Gravity -- medium-high, 1.080s
  • Storage -- well, dry rot with rough handling, soft rot due to large lenticels
  • Glycoalkaloids -- low-medium (4.6 mg/100g fresh weight)
  • Cooking Quality -- good with dry texture after boiling or baking; chips dark
  • Internal Defects -- hollow heart in larger tubers
  • Disease Reactions -- moderately susceptible to common scab, PVY, early blight, dry rot, silver scurf and black scurf; susceptible to soft rots in storage
  • Pollution Sensitivity -- susceptible to ozone damage (can induce early dying)
  • Herbicide Sensitivity -- none to metribuzin

Conclusions and Comments

Yukon Gold is primarily for the fresh market where it is gaining popularity. Light yellow coloring of the flesh gives the illusion that it is pre-buttered. Performance data in Ontario shows higher yields compared to Superior at some locations but not others (Table 1 summarizes). In Nebraska, Yukon Gold was included in trials conducted at Imperial, O'Neill and Scottsbluff over the past three years. Tables 2 through 4 summarize the data from the nine site-years and compares Yukon Gold to Russet Burbank and Russet Norkotah. Yukon Gold had less small-sized tubers resulting in significantly higher yields of tubers greater than 1f inch (Table 2). Its specific gravity was higher than the two russets and it fried slightly lighter. Table 3 shows that, in the Nebraska trials, Yukon Gold was more susceptible to common scab than the two russets but less susceptible to black scurf than Russet Burbank. It had less off-shaped tubers than Russet Burbank as well (Table 4). There was slightly more hollow heart and heat sprouting (5%) occurred at Imperial in 1997. In taste tests conducted in Canada, Yukon Gold was rated good with a dry texture for both boiling and baking.

Yukon Gold is establishing a key market niche in Nebraska's potato industry and is recommended for grower evaluations. Note, however, that Yukon Gold has some special characteristics that cause problems with stands and marketing size. To overcome these, some key production practices need to be employed.