Henk Holtslag, Stet Holland, Emmeloord: ‘Even more than before, we’re going to focus on developing and offering robust varieties.’

Henk Holtslag

‘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.’

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