New potato varieties in the polder
The in-house breeding programme of potato varieties in the 1980s has acted as a good basis for developing new varieties for the market. After a short period in Wierum (North-Friesland) and Espel (Noordoostpolder) the breeding station moved in 2000 to the heart of potato world in Emmeloord. The conditions available in Emmeloord offer all the requirements necessary to breed potato varieties in the optimum way.
We have a team of young and enthusiastic employees who focus on the trialling and selecting of potential new potato varieties. Every year around 40,000 new seedlings (new potato varieties) are produced. Some of these seedlings are bred by other commercial breeders and some by the so-named free breeders or hobby breeders.
During the very early stages of development, potential new potato varieties are sent to national and international customers in more than 35 countries. The purpose of this is so that the customers can trial the new potato varieties and look at a range of characteristics for quality and quantity. The seedlings with promising trial results are then multiplied and grown by a few selected Dutch growers in order to undertake global trialling on an extended scale. At the same time the seedlings are tested for several pathogenic fungi’s, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. After 10-15 years of R&D we strive to bring 1 or 2 new potato varieties of all those 40.000 seedlings per year into our existing variety portfolio. Only the potato varieties with the best trialling results are valuable enough to take a position in the commercial variety portfolio of KWS POTATO B.V.
Greater investment in research is increasingly resulting in new developments and innovations. Mainly in the field of disease resistances and quality, more research has been initiated; especially on the effects of specific genes. This so-named genomics research will make it possible to select specific variety characteristics in an efficient way, without the application of genetic modification.