TRADE AND MARKET I NG There is still plenty of room for new French-fry varieties Colm McDonnell, IPM, Deinum: ‘We feel an obligation to produce varieties that can be grown in an environmentally friendly way.’ ‘Since the start of the IPM breeding work in 1968, we have traditionally placed more emphasis on cultivating varieties for the fresh table potato sector and have had less success in processing. As we know, the lead time to the market is long, but we now have a series of new seedlings that are currently in the pre-national list stage in the breeding programme. These varieties have excellent resistance genes against nematodes and they have a very good frying quality. This is because we test all our varieties in the fourth year with markers for potato cyst nematode resistance. Maverick and Gravity are currently our candidates for the French fries sector. Both varieties are yellow-fleshed. Maverick is suitable for fresh and frozen fries with Ro1 resistance. Gravity is a dual-purpose variety and has opportunities in the fresh and catering sector and the Frenchfry sector. In addition, I notice that the environment in which the potato industry operates is rapidly becoming professional, with the result that potato breeders have had full worksheets in front of them for years with the requirements that new varieties must meet. We focus on extreme weather conditions, reducing the use of crop protection chemicals, pressure on sprout inhibitors such as CIPC and the contamination of potato fields with potato cyst nematodes. New improved potato varieties that stand out in these challenging conditions are of vital importance. We feel an obligation to produce varieties that can be grown in an environmentally friendly way. For a long time, breeders have focused on characteristics such as resistance to pests and diseases, drought tolerance and the processing of storage characteristics. To a certain extent, the potato chain has not implemented these improvements, because there were other corrective measures available. Changes in the availability of crop protection chemicals and sprout inhibitors are, in my opinion, a game changer in the European potato sector. As the farmer’s toolbox is emptied by the legislators, the selection of varieties will become more important than ever before.’ accepts a variety as a raw material, things move fast.’ up these varieties. This is only possible if the added value is significant. In all the fresh French-fry, conventional fry and QSR fry segments, the manufacturers want to have the varieties available all year round. In the early French-fry sector there’s still room in the various segments. I feel there’s a balance in the market between long storage and early varieties. An early variety doesn’t give a 100 percent relative yield. On the other hand, storage until July costs a lot of energy. It’s a top-class sport to store potatoes that you can still make good chips from in July. For the time being, both systems are optional, and can also exist next to each other. We’ve noticed this year especially, when storage is an even greater challenge for the growers, that the processing industry wants to have all the varieties planted with early French-fry characteristics. For the Fontane, which will only become a free variety in 2028, a possible successor is the Palace, a variety from our diploid breeding programme. This variety gives structurally 10 percent more yield than the Fontane. That’s worth it.’ Potato World 2019 • number 3 29 Pagina 28

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