CU LTIVATION AND TECHNOLOGY Variety Presentation Days 2019: main objectives in breeding vary widely ! Erika den Daas, Meijer Potato, Rilland ‘We’ve been focusing very strongly on yield combined with resistances over the past few years.’ ‘In our breeding work we’ve been focusing very strongly on yield combined with resistances over the past few years.’ The word that we think fits best here is robustness. There are several reasons why we’re fully focusing on this right now. We’ve identified three important shifts in cultivation: an increase in pests and diseases, a decrease in the package of chemical crop protection agents, and a change in the climate. That makes it quite a job for the potato grower to keep his yield up to standard, let alone to increase it. When it comes to Phytophthora resistance, we’ve been working for some time on stacking resistance genes. More resistance genes in a variety makes breakthroughs more difficult. Actually, we do the same with all the other characteristics. We’re stacking various strong characteristics on top of each other to get a robust variety. Thanks to our many years of breeding experience, we can draw on a very extensive gene bank, which holds some very strong generation lines. When it comes to robustness, we’ve brought along a good example here. This tray holds an entire family, with grandmother Cupido at the back, daughter Orchestra next and here in front granddaughter Acoustic. All three are strong on yield and additional characteristics are stacked in each following generation. For example, the youngest addition has been given double Phytophthora resistance, also stacked. To be honest, breeding is not the only way to achieve robustness. Consulting with the customer is just as important. Our potato varieties grow in various countries around the world and the growing conditions can vary significantly. A robust variety for one country can have completely different characteristics than a robust variety for another country. In order to get a clear picture of which variety characteristics are important for all these different customers, we use ‘To be honest, breeding is not the only way to achieve robustness. Consulting with the customer is just as important.’ fifty selection criteria to find the common denominator that provides sufficient robustness for each of them. With this accumulation of data and our breeding experience, we hope to create the ! most suitable robust variety for each customer. And that's what we're doing every day.’ Jan-Paul Bandsma, De Nijs, Warmenhuizen: ‘We think that the is very important.’ ‘An important part of our focus at the Fobek breeding company is on virus resistance. Last year, of course, all our problems started with the already significantly-higher percentage of cuts in seed, which has become even worse this year. At first, everyone thought it would be a temporary problem and it would blow over again, but when you look at the current subsequent inspection figures, this is not the case. This obviously requires action. We think that the rapid availability of varieties that are strong against viruses is very important. For a long time now, less attention has been paid to this in breeding. We were less affected by it, partly due to good crop management and sufficient resources. An additional reason is that we’re an exporting country. Viruses have been a problem in the rest of the world for some time now. If you have an export variety with good resistance, there’s a high risk of illegal second-growth in the importing countries. However, breeding for viruses isn’t an easy task. With a variety that’s strong against viruses in combination with AM resistance and fairly strong against Phytophthora, you already have a powerful weapon in your hands. For example, we have a promising purple-skinned number that’s suitable for the table, French-fry and export markets. This seedling is strong against viruses and reasonably strong against Phytophthora and there’s quite a lot of interest in it. Our first goal is therefore not so much to have Fobek develop fully-resistant varieties, but varieties that are stronger against viruses than have been available so far and therefore have good resistance. Of course, we’d like to have them as quickly as possible. We’re trying to achieve this acceleration togeth12 Potato World 2020 • number 1 What is your most important focus in your breeding work at the moment ? Pagina 11

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