TechnologyCrop Production R & DEuropean Potato Companies Strive to be Sustainable

    European Potato Companies Strive to be Sustainable


    Potato companies in Europe are striving to be more sustainable through potato breeding and digital tools to assist growers. Agrico B.V. and Meijer Potato have both bred new sustainable potato varieties, while HZPC is offering an online tool to help growers be more sustainable.

    ‘Palace’ from Agrico B.V.
    The potato variety ‘Palace’ from Agrico B.V. in the Netherlands. Photo:  Agrico B.V.

    Potato Variety ‘Palace’ — Agrico B.V., The Netherlands

    Modern potato variety ‘Palace’ is a recent addition to Agrico’s product portfolio. It has excellent consumption properties and is therefore ideal for processing into French fries and flakes. ‘Palace’ is gaining a position in the market for fresh consumption in Southern European countries, but also in the Middle East and North Africa. This is because this variety, even under very dry and warm conditions, produces good yields in uniform batches and has a nice skin and excellent flavour. What makes this variety a significant innovation, is its yield potential at low nitrogen input levels. Field trials show that ‘Palace’ with a low nitrogen application gives a considerably higher yield compared to currently used varieties. An additional yield that immediately shows itself on the potato harvester. This late-ripening variety is therefore very efficient in nitrogen uptake. Considering these advantages and its long shelf life, it can make an important contribution to sustainable food production for both the grower and the food industry and is a step in the right direction when it comes to nitrogen in the environment.

    Acoustic from Meijer Potato
    The potato variety Acoustic from Meijer Potato in the Netherlands. Photo: Meijer Potato

    Potato Variety Acoustic — Meijer Potato, The Netherlands

    Meijer Potato is focused on breeding robust potato varieties that:

    • Easily produce a high marketable yield in a variety of soil types and climates, efficiently using natural resources (growing potatoes locally, means less transport and CO2 emission)
    • Are water efficient (salt tolerant varieties use scarce water more efficiently)
    • Require a low input of crop protection agents and fertilizer and can be grown with respect for nature
    • Can be stored for a long time, using scarce agricultural land and other natural resources more efficiently

    One example of such a robust variety is Acoustic, which produces a high marketable yield in different climates and soil types. Being late blight resistant, it’s suitable for both conventional and organic cultivation. Needing less pesticides and nitrogen, this variety can be grown with respect for nature. Acoustic meets the Green Deal requirements for late blight resistance as well as for fertilizer input. This variety needs at least 25 per cent less nitrogen than a standard variety.

    Even Greener Calculator — HZPC, The Netherlands

    As a crop, the potato is a sustainable choice. It has a very small carbon footprint, compared to rice or wheat. And it gets even smaller now. HZPC is presenting ‘Even Greener’, a selection of extra sustainable varieties with a lower impact on the environment. Together with their customers they have looked at what requirements are truly important for sustainable varieties. And the company came up with five sustainable traits: marketable yield, fertilizer, storability, crop protection and freshwater use. Now it’s finally possibly to measure and determine whether a variety is sustainable. Not defining by one single trait but by a balanced set of five. In the Even Greener calculator, the customers can indicate which traits are most important to them and HZPC provides a potato variety that meets these requirements. This gives them access to the best sustainable potato varieties.

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