TRADE AND MARKET I NG There is still plenty of room for new French-fry varieties Peter van Eerdt, Danespo Holland, Berltsum: ‘No one is really 100 percent happy with the variety that they grow or process.’ ‘In fact, no one is really 100 percent happy with the variety that they grow or process. There’s always a characteristic that needs improvement, so yes, there’s always a demand for new French-fry varieties. Also in the top segment. That’s the way it is and that’s what gives us continuous work. But sometimes you work on the improvement of a certain characteristic and then, after years of developing, it turns out that there’s no interest in it for a while. You’ll have to wait or you are unlucky. For example, take the situation of last summer. This raises the need for French-fry varieties that can handle little water and, at the same time, provide quality and yield. We’ve had new varieties with these characteristics already available for some years, Cronos, for example. We already showed these to the French-fry manufacturers two years ago. They didn’t really have any interest in them then. Just give us Fontane, because there are plenty of those, was the reaction then. That was probably the deathblow for hundreds of potential candidates that were emerging at the breeding stations at that time as possible and more robust replacements. This year the interest is suddenly there and almost everything is possible. My appeal to the manufacturers is therefore: show a bit more loyalty towards both growers and variety developers. Processing isn’t the only thing that benefits from continuity – cultivation and breeding benefit too. As a manufacturer, don’t be afraid to make a five-year arrangement to develop a new variety, for example, and, together with the breeder, take some responsibility for it. The Cronos could be an example. We’re developing it into a robust dual-purpose variety that’s very suitable for the freshmarket French fries at home and abroad, and it’s therefore also suitable as an export variety. Last year, we saw the industry still walking away from them and the consumption potato growers got no more than 2 to 3 eurocents per kilogram. This year, we’re in a completely different situation and if we’d had some more of the variety we could have served the industry in a fantastic way, given the interest that now exists for the Cronos.’ Harry van de Vijver, Germicopa, Quimper (F): ‘Give us yellow-fleshed French-fry varieties with broad nematode resistance.’ ‘We’re busy developing new French-fry varieties every day, simply because there’s a demand. So, yes, there’s room. A frequently-heard wish from growers and manufacturers is: give us yellowfleshed French-fry varieties with broad nematode resistance, for both Globodera Rostochiensis and Pallida. And that’s what we’re working hard on. We don’t have such a variety yet, but we do have one with a 2011 crossing that’s doing very well and has a good chance of being successful. We also receive requests for varieties with greater length, a slightly longer Fontane would be welcome, according to the industry. This also applies to the early segment. The Premiere could also be a bit longer and that’s another challenge for us. Last year, the Fasty was added to the Varieties List. This is an early variety with more length than the already existing varieties and, possibly, it has a chance to expand in this market segment. Cost reduction for the grower is a breeding argument that isn’t much mentioned, but we’re working on that too in our breeding programme. For example, we have the new Kelly variety here with good resistance to Phytophthora and Globodera Rostochiensis, which means that the grower needs to spend less on disease control. At the same time, this variety requires less than the average quantity of seed. So you’re talking about 1,800 instead of 2,300 kilograms per hectare. You can easily plant this variety at a distance of 42 to 43 centimetres in the row and in ridges of 75 centimetres.’ Potato World 2019 • number 3 33 Pagina 32

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