The content of this blog originates from the article on the Potato Variety Days 2021 published in PotatoWorld magazine 2022/01.
By Zindziwe Janse, Jaap Delleman and Leo Hanse.
During the Potato Variety Days 2021, we asked participating breeding companies about the key focus of their breeders in their search for new varieties. In this blog post you may read the answer given by André Postma, Sales Manager at Selectiebedrijf Kooi, Leeuwarden (NL):
‘Checking on what the end user, the ware potato grower, thinks of the variety’
‘We have material that comes from the Fobek breeding station, and we work together with a number of hobby breeders. We’ve now chosen to stop getting new material from Fobek, so that we can focus on the material that’s already there. Ultimately, you hope to be able to make a difference in the near future, but unlike the larger companies, we don’t have a huge amount of material,’ says André Postma, Sales Manager at Selectiebedrijf Kooi.
‘We at least give the breeders an indication of what we’re looking for. You can almost fill in what’s important yourself. You need just about everything, that’s the challenge. We’re also looking at the problems in our sales areas. In some countries, for example, there’s a salt problem, we once had a variety that seemed to be quite resistant to it, but then didn’t get through the selection process for other reasons’, says Postma. ‘We mostly work with table potatoes, so a lot of breeding work is focused on that too. We have the Frieslander, which will be around for many years to come, but you also hope for a combination of a potato that’s a good table potato, and also has good frying qualities. Such a dual-purpose variety has also always been our focus’, he explains. Are growers already asking for the replacement of some of their varieties? ‘That depends on the circumstances that are there. There are political decisions that also play a role in this respect, think, for example, of the agents package. On the one hand, you have your own preferences and, on the other, there are the specific requirements. If, as a result, there are problems with the storage of ware potatoes, it’s useful if you have a variety that responds to that, or one you can improve on', answers Postma. Pointing to a box with a number on the table, a promising variety, he says: ‘This is a real French-fry variety. That’s a big market, and a whole new market for us too, because we’ve never yet had our own French-fry variety. That’s also something we’re looking out for, something we don’t yet have. You don’t have to have the same thing in your packages ten times, because you’ll take the best anyway.’ How do you develop the best new variety as far as the growers are concerned? ‘Well, in the end, they should do well in the field. You may think it’s an improvement yourself, but you have to find out how the end user, the ware potato grower, experiences it’, says Postma.
Want to keep reading about the Potato Variety Days?
In the run-up to the event we published an e-book that you can download here!