New potato variety promises cyst nematode help

A new potato variety, Vales Everest, could allow growers to reduce potato cyst nematode levels on farm even without the use of nematicides, Greenvale technical director Paul Coleman told growers at Potatoes in Practice.

“It has the highest resistance to [Globodera] pallida of any variety to have gone through National List trials.”

PCN multiplication after growing the variety was only two-fold compared with 50-fold with Cara in trials. “It means in a six or seven year rotation [given the decline in PCN in years without a potato crop] PCN will effectively decline.”

The variety was also very tolerant to PCN, he added. “It will produce good yields in high PCN populations.”

The downside was a market had yet to be established for the variety. “Some of the processors are very interested – we’re working hard to provide growers with market opportunities for it.”

Two other varieties were also proving of interest to growers, he said. Vales Sovereign had very good common scab resistance, and was ideal for the pre-pack market. “It produces low tuber numbers, so it will get to size this year OK. It has done very well – we’ve had good orders for it next year.”

The other variety was Vales Emerald, which came to maturity ten days earlier than Maris Peer, he said. “It allows us an earlier entry into the UK market.”

One thousand tonnes had been packed for use by Sainsbury and Tesco this season, he said.

• Potatoes in Practice was organised jointly by SAC, SCRI, CSC Crop Protection & BPC