Dirk Hay is a Plant Genetics Specialist in the Department of Soil Science and Horticulture at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Experimental Station. His latest project uses deep-sea radar to select early-maturing potato varieties, which can help growers identify when harvest starts and improve the efficiency of irrigation water use.
The breeders of the same institution, Creighton Miller and Isabelle Valais, are participating in this project. Currently, traditional potato breeding can begin with 80 thousand individual parental lines in the early stages of selection, and all lines are harvested 120 days after planting. If you want to select early varieties, for example, growing in 90 or 110 days, you need to propagate these lines several times to get a sufficient amount of planting material.
Vegetative propagation of potatoes and the need to dig a crop greatly complicate the cultivation of early varieties. The use of a deep-sea radar makes it possible to obtain an image of tubers located in the soil, and without digging them, to calculate the correlation of the image correspondence to the real value of the tubers. If desired, you can get a 1: 1 correspondence between the digital image of the tuber and its actual mass. The use of this method of estimating lines can significantly simplify and increase the efficiency of the evaluation and selection of individual lines.
A source: http://www.fruit-inform.com