CU LTIVATION AND TECHNOLOGY Variety Presentation Days 2019: main objectives in breeding vary widely ! Henk Holtslag, Stet Holland, Emmeloord: ‘Even more than before, we’re going to focus on developing and offering robust varieties.’ ‘In our field of expertise, we have a strong tendency to look at current developments. For example, at the moment, all attention within the sector is focused on the virus issues. It’s logical that we then get more demand for varieties with virus resistance and that we concentrate on that in our breeding work. Nevertheless, it’s much more important when you talk about focus to stick to a long-term vision. Years ago, we introduced the slogan ‘first, fresh, far’ and we’ll continue to focus on that. ‘To serve the export market, we're going to concentrate, even more than before, on developing and offering robust varieties.’ These are varieties that produce more yield than before, are easy to cultivate, and have the desired resistances. The description that fits best here is a “robust farmers” potato’. And if that also includes improved virus resistance, we’ll certainly focus our breeding work on that. At the same time, this means that we’ll be quicker to say goodbye to varieties that don’t meet the criteria as they’ll only stand in the way of the acreage and increased sales of the very best. When it comes to viruses, for example, it’s the more vulnerable, late-maturing varieties that we need to get rid of. In addition to variety characteristics, we also make more targeted choices when it comes to cultivation areas. We’ll stop growing a variety that, because of its particular specifications, has a limited sales area and has no further growth potential. So, which variety will we focus on developing? This could be the Brianna, which is entirely in line with our "first, fresh, far" objective. It’s a variety that produces high yields, has many resistances, yields coarse tubers and has a nice firm skin, in short – the perfect example of a robust type.’ ‘A variety such as Brianna is entirely in line with our “first, fresh, far” objective.’ ! Jos Bus, TPC, Emmeloord: ‘We put all our energy into crossing ‘Resistance in the broadest sense of the word, that's what we aim for. Years ago, we could already see that the use of crop protection would come under pressure. That’s why we've put all our energy into crossing resistances. But I must add that we don’t hope that protection agents will disappear altogether. Without regulating the cultivation, resistances will soon break down, because nature is faster than we can keep up with in our traditional breeding work. This can be seen, for example, in the fight against nematodes. In fact, potato cyst nematode appears to have a much broader spectrum of strains than just the five that we’ve identified so far. And a frequent cultivation of varieties with certain resistances can quickly lead to a breakthrough. In combination with products such as nematicides, it was previously possible to retain the resistances for longer. As a breeder, you’ll then have more time to search for resistant genes or to work on stacking them. So we see that, if we try to combat resistance without these artificial means, we’ll very quickly lose those resistances again. What would be better, also for the environment, is that we continue combining resistances such as against Phytophthora – for which we still have some products – using at least three to four sprayings of these products per season. That’s already more than twice the number we do now, but that means that we’d hold resistances longer. The importance of incorporating resistance into varieties is therefore increasing significantly, but at the same time it’s also becoming increasingly complicated, especially if we have to stick to the traditional way of breeding. Fortunately, we’ve chosen this breeding approach in good time and we can still take the necessary steps with our experience. Collaboration within the BioImpuls initiative helps us with this. Here we have the opportunity to work on stacking genes that are resistant to Phytophthora with the help of modern marker tech14 Potato World 2020 • number 1 What is your most important focus in your breeding work at the moment ? Pagina 13

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