Henk Offereins, Danespo Holland, Berltsum: ‘As Danespo Holland, we’re now fully engaged in the breeding and selection of French-fry varieties.’

Henk Offereins

‘As we know, Danespo’s head office is in Denmark, along with the now completely renovated breeding station. This is where all the basic breeding activities are taking place for the various cultivation goals such as quality, resistances, etc. As Danespo Holland, we gratefully make use of this, but we have our own specific goal when it comes to breeding work and this is to market French-fry varieties. We do this in the Netherlands, simply because we have the soil and the climate in which most French-fry potato varieties grow for the processors in North-West Europe. When you test French-fry varieties in Denmark, the tuber setting is often much lower and you often get smaller seed. That’s why we’ve been working in our own country for some years now with the strains of our French-fry varieties and, last season, we had first-year seedlings of potential varieties on our trial fields. Strain propagation takes place in the province of Friesland and the seedlings are tested on the NAK trial fields near Emmeloord. We can see much better there whether there are adequately large sizes and whether these develop defects such as hollow growth. So, within the total Danespo breeding programme, Danespo Holland is now fully engaged in the breeding and selection of French-fry varieties.’ For years, the Royal has been our most successful variety, but that’s now reached its peak in terms of acreage. This is mainly a big tuber variety with a creamy-flesh colour, but that’s not what we’re looking for right now. We’re now focusing primarily on white McDonalds or yellow quality French fries with a good baking quality after long storage. And we now have quite a lot of seedlings of these in the pipeline, some of which we’ll be testing on the industry’s trial fields. It’s all still at an early stage, the knock-out race has yet to begin, but the first results are certainly very hopeful.’

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