TRADE AND MARKET I NG There is still plenty of room for new French-fry varieties Jaap Brondijk, Stet Holland, Emmeloord: ‘The point is to achieve significant improvements and not to have more of the same.’ very well in marginal soils, which is a great distinguishing feature compared to existing varieties in the QSR segment. Looking at the yield, the variety gives structurally more tubers per plant than the benchmark. This offers more yield potential for both seed and consumption growers. In addition, the seed potatoes of the variety can be cut well in consumption cultivation, so that big tubers also get a purpose as user seed. Industrial processors are now becoming interested in the variety.’ ‘We always strive for better, where the bar is set higher and higher. That’s why there’s always room for new varieties. We focus on QSR fries, the high segment in the market. Length, consistency, a good dry matter distribution in the tuber and reliable growth on marginal soils are important here. This means we work with product profiles where we tell our breeding department what important characteristics are desirable, what the current standard is and where we’re heading. We want to excel in varieties that have a clearly distinctive profile and the potential to develop into a seed potato acreage of more than 100 hectares. We believe that due to the large number of varieties we have in the Netherlands, you can no longer see the forest for the trees. The point is to achieve significant improvements and not to have more of the same. At any rate, it is important that the yields of new varieties are significantly higher than the existing ones in the market segment. Unfortunately, yield is still one of the biggest drivers in the development of varieties. But we’re also seeing an increase in the growers’ demands for nematode, drought and Phytophthora resistance. One variety that meets our admission requirements is the Leonata. This variety has a beautiful white flesh colour. It doesn’t show any growth cracks or flesh defects during the growing period. In addition, it does David Murdie, Potato Manager of GPS Potato Breeders, Angus: ‘As Scottish growers, we focus mainly on the home market.’ ‘I should, of course, introduce myself before answering the question. We’re a young company in which three Scottish companies participate: Grampain Growers, E. park & Son and Skea Organics. About seven years ago, we decided to start our own potato breeding programme under the name GPS Potato Breeders. We do this in collaboration with the Scottish research station for agricultural crops, The James Hutton Institute. During these variety presentation days we’re sharing a space with Agroplant. The connection with this Dutch company is that we represent their varieties. Besides growing, propagating and trading third party varieties, we’ve been growing our own varieties for a number of years now. We’re testing these not only in Scotland, but also in other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia Israel and Egypt. In the Netherlands, we recently signed an agreement for this with crop farmer Philip Kroes in Dronten. He’ll also represent our varieties here in the future. In those seven years of breeding potato varieties, we’ve already produced 23 very promising numbers. Among them are also 6 varieties that are suitable for French fries. That also gives the answer to your question, yes, there is a need for new French-fry varieties, otherwise we as a young breeding company wouldn’t have started doing this of course. ‘In addition, as Scottish growers, we focus mainly on the home market, which means chips. We have 10,000 fish and chip shops here, all small businesses with specific requirements. When it comes to French fries, this means in any case good storage quality, not only in the grower’s storehouse, but also in the paper bag in which they’re delivered as chips. Furthermore, a variety should stand out in taste and texture. One characteristic that plays a role in this is the dry matter content, which should be relatively high. We aim for 22 percent and that’s what we focus on in the young breeding programme.’ Potato World 2019 • number 3 27 Pagina 26

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