TRADE AND MARKET I NG Robust is the new trend Stefaan Delmeire, Binst Breeding and Selection, Grimbergen: ‘Fewer surprises after a stressful growing season’ ‘A variety with fewer surprises after a stressful growing season. That’s a robust variety, in our opinion. One that is reliable. To be topical, that’s a variety that you store after harvesting and you don’t need to take out again after two weeks, because it’s too susceptible to this or that. We currently find a lot of varieties like that, usually not the smallest, in Belgium. We have problems with them every year such as too much or too little underwater weight, various kinds of rot, growth cracks, hollow, and even glassiness. They’re varieties that appear robust, but are not. They’re often Agria-related varieties. Many of its crossing offspring have already had many problems and they still keep coming. The fact give a continuously-reliable result the Daisy is an example. It’s not very susceptible to Phytophthora and it has been very stable in regard to yield and quality over the years. Not the highest in yield over the years but, on average, always in third or fourth place. The same applies to our latest table potato variety, Capucine. Whatever the climatic conditions, it performs consistently. In my view, consistency is just as important as resistance when it comes to robustness.’ that the number of cultivated hectares has grown considerably is mainly due to the demand from the industry. You harvest lots of lorries with the same processing quality, but they often cause too many cultivation and storage problems for the farmer. A variety that doesn’t have this type of sham robustness is the Alegria. This variety also has very good drought resistance, a considerable resistance to Phytophthora and growers don’t have too many problems with them. In short, it’s a traditional potato that is also highly marketable. They are highly sought-after for export, the supermarkets like them as home-made chips, and the processors are showing increasing interest in them. What you can’t do with this variety is store for any length of time. The frying quality is no longer guaranteed after the end of March, but this isn’t a problem when it comes to acceptance by the sector. We’re continuously expanding the acreage year after year. Mainly because the farmers really like to grow the variety and we have a steadily-growing market for it. As a variety, you must have the opportunity to prove your robustness and, in our view, that’s exactly what Alegria does.’ Potato World 2018 • number 1 31 Pagina 30

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