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 Francis Binst, Managing Director of Binst Breeding & Selection, Grimbergen (B):
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.
Trading company Binst Breeding Selection sees a role for itself as a link between breeders and customers. ‘We can’t tell the customer what to buy or the breeder what to breed, but we can make adjustments in various areas. We do this by providing sufficient information’, says Managing Director Francis Binst.
‘The interests we show to breeders are mainly based on the requirements of our customers. It’s of little use if we ask for varieties for which there are no customers. Being open to what you see and hear is important, which is why we’re here now’, says Binst. ‘In addition to listening to the customer, we also anticipate the shortcomings or gaps that will be there in the future with the varieties currently in our portfolio. The new Goldmarie variety is the most obvious example of this. In the 1970s, my father found the Charlotte variety at a breeder in France. He introduced it as a waxy potato, which was, at that time, a new segment. Now that the climate is changing, we see that it is becoming increasingly difficult with Charlotte to grow seed on the one hand, and high-quality products for the ware potato market on the other. That’s why, seven years ago, we told the wholesalers that there would come a point in a few years where the demand for Charlotte would still be there, but there would be no more Charlotte available to fill those bags for the supermarkets. A year ago, after two hot summers with a lot of virus pressure, we reached the point where we couldn’t produce the seed potatoes, and the returns and the yield in the ware potato crop were not spectacular. At such a time, the door is open for an alternative in the retail trade. Meanwhile, we’d already selected a new variety from the Norika breeding station as a possible replacement: the Goldmarie. So ultimately it’s our job to anticipate risks and opportunities, and timing is the most important here’, Binst explains the role of his company.
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!
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