TRADE AND MARKET I NG Robust is the new trend Jos Bus, TPC, Emmeloord: ‘Grow a marketable crop without too many problems’ ‘A robust potato is simply a potato from which a farmer can grow a marketable crop without too many problems. This is already quite difficult for table potatoes. For example, buyers want a smooth and easy-to-peel potato. You then quickly lose a lot of robustness, because this means that you usually get varieties with a thin skin that are more susceptible to diseases such as Phytophthora. With a chips variety you lose robustness as soon as you’re forced to add potato cyst nematode resistance. And if a grower wants to plant the relevant cropping area as much as possible with a variety like this, you can’t ignore that particular characteristic. What we’re now trying to do is improve the robustness of the varieties we already have with the desired resistance, such as to nematodes. We’ve already started down this path. When I look at our new seedlings for cultivating chips potatoes, there are numbers in there with all the necessary resistances, and they’re also longer and larger. Still, you’ll soon run into another problem that may bring down the robustness: blue discolouration. Larger potatoes have more weight and are more prone to bruising after a fall. That factor must then be optimised as much as possible with even more crossings. I just want to point out that it’s not easy to get the most robust potato variety that the grower and the buyer want. What we actually want is a potato that’s just as easy for a farmer to grow as the Bintje, but has all the required resistances and characteristics that are necessary for disease-free cultivation and meets the current wishes of the customer. So what we’re looking for is a stable variety. That’s the variety that produces the most uniform performance across all our trial fields. We already have a wide range of such varieties and promising numbers available.’ Jan Janse, Europlant, Heerenveen: ‘Varieties with which we can keep potato cultivation going’ ‘It’s important in our breeding work that we get varieties that enable us to keep potato cultivation going, for many years to come. If there’s a need to use fewer agents and fertiliser, we’ll respond to that with new varieties. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the characteristics that make the potato attractive to the consumer, I’m mainly thinking of taste and frying quality. We’re now seeing varieties coming onto the market, for example, that have many resistances and sometimes produce more than 50 tons per hectare, but they also have no taste. So when we talk about robust varieties, we mean varieties with as many resistance genes as possible and a durable resistance to Phytophthora, but that still have taste. For instance, the Allians is an example of a firm table potato that we call both sustainable and tasty. It’s not very susceptible to nematodes thanks to Ro1 and 4 resistances and hasn’t got any problems with tuber Phytophthora. And Allians also produces a very acceptable yield under less favourable growing conditions, so it’s a very stable variety. We recently have an equally well-performing variety in the slightly-floury segment and that’s the Otolia, a variety that can be used in the organic sector. It’s a mid-early, tasty potato with high resistances such as to nematodes, wart disease, virus, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and scabies. For the cultivation of a French-fry variety, we use the same concept of robustness as for table potatoes. That’s where we’re using the Etana, which is a mid-late French-fry potato for long storage with a particularly broad nematode resistance. And the variety combines this with an excellent taste and texture, making it a very good fryer even after long storage.’ Potato World 2018 • number 1 29 Pagina 28

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