Jörg Renatus, Europlant, Lüneburg (D): ‘Our main objective is to develop varieties that contribute to sustainable potato cultivation.’
‘What we are focusing on? That question isn’t difficult, nor is the answer. Our main objective is to develop varieties that contribute to sustainable potato cultivation. Breeding for resistances is an important part of this and is both a huge challenge and an opportunity for us. The challenge lies in the fact that we try to develop varieties that are the most efficient for each grower, wherever they are in the world. In this context, I’ve mentioned the three key words that today’s breeding work at Europlant is all about: durability, resistance and efficiency. None of these can be separated from the others. So what challenges are we facing? First and foremost is, anticipating all the cultivation factors brought about by climate change, drought, heat, flooding, etc. Nitrogen is number two on the list. How do we develop varieties that handle this as efficiently as possible and therefore require little fertilisation? The third in line is resistance to pests, diseases, drought and heat. The trick here is to be able to offer a suitable variety for each purpose and region that provides an answer to problems that pose a threat there. This requires a flexible breeding programme. And then there’s the disappearance of crop protection chemicals as number four. What’s the answer to that? When I look at CIPC, it’s especially important that we find varieties that can be stored for a long time with little or no sprout inhibiting agents. There’s currently a high demand for this from growers, because alternative products are very expensive. Fortunately, we have modern cultivation tools at our disposal to tackle this urgently, such as marker technology. And with that, we develop varieties that can answer all those questions from the sector, such as the many examples we already have here in the boxes.