Jos Bus, TPC, Emmeloord: ‘We put all our energy into crossing resistances.’
‘Resistance in the broadest sense of the word, that’s what we aim for. Years ago, we could already see that the use of crop protection would come under pressure. That’s why we’ve put all our energy into crossing resistances. But I must add that we don’t hope that protection agents will disappear altogether. Without regulating the cultivation, resistances will soon break down, because nature is faster than we can keep up with in our traditional breeding work. This can be seen, for example, in the fight against nematodes. In fact, potato cyst nematode appears to have a much broader spectrum of strains than just the five that we’ve identified so far. And a frequent cultivation of varieties with certain resistances can quickly lead to a breakthrough. In combination with products such as nematicides, it was previously possible to retain the resistances for longer. As a breeder, you’ll then have more time to search for resistant genes or to work on stacking them. So we see that, if we try to combat resistance without these artificial means, we’ll very quickly lose those resistances again. What would be better, also for the environment, is that we continue combining resistances such as against Phytophthora – for which we still have some products – using at least three to four sprayings of these products per season. That’s already more than twice the number we do now, but that means that we’d hold resistances longer. The importance of incorporating resistance into varieties is therefore increasing significantly, but at the same time it’s also becoming increasingly complicated, especially if we have to stick to the traditional way of breeding. Fortunately, we’ve chosen this breeding approach in good time and we can still take the necessary steps with our experience. Collaboration within the BioImpuls initiative helps us with this. Here we have the opportunity to work on stacking genes that are resistant to Phytophthora with the help of modern marker techniques. And we see, for example, the opportunity to combine Phytophthora resistance with a broad resistance to nematodes and wart disease. A good example of this is a crossing number from our own breeding programme, the TPC 10-05-04. This is an upcoming French-fry variety with all the characteristics that growers and processors currently require, including all the resistances that I just mentioned.