Breeding potatoes is like traveling to an unknown address without navigation. You know what the final destination or the goal you want to achieve is, but you are not sure beforehand whether you will end up in exactly the same place you intended.
So is the breeding program! We know what the goal is and which desired characteristics belong to it, but during this long journey, due to various circumstances, new desired characteristics are constantly added, so that the ultimate goal “the perfect potato” often comes in sight with many detours.
Royal ZAP/Semagri is also involved in this search. We still work with independent growers, but we also joined the Bio Impuls project 2 years ago. This made us think about further developing our own breeding program and the final destination where we want to end up in 10 or 15 years.
In no time I can think of 35 traits that a variety can be judged by, and I don’t think all of these will fit in a potato. It’s full! If we manage to add that one desirable quality to the potato, something else falls off because it’s full. But we keep looking for the perfect combination that will never be perfect.
And now you’re wondering what the perfect breed is for me. To me, that’s the breed embraced in many countries. Where the customer is not asked about those 35 properties, but where the customer is happy with the shape, color and size of the tuber in combination with a good and reliable yield.
That is the desired breed characteristic for me!
Dirk van Dijken