Newcomer spud varieties prove their worth in trials

7 December 2001




Newcomer spud varieties prove their worth in trials

A POTATO with distinct promise for the organic sector, another which could challenge Marfona as an early baker, and a potential trio for the processing trade have been the shining varieties in this years BPC-funded NIAB trials.

Lady Balfour, a parti-coloured red, may be well suited to organic growing, because of its good blight resistance, says NIABs James Trounce. "It has partial pallida resistance and gave a good yield of fairly bold tubers. But its size tends to be variable and it has a rough skin finish." In year 2 of the three-year testing scheme, its agent is Greenvale.

Konsul, from Agrico and at the same testing stage, produces bold tubers and is aimed at the early baker trade. It gave very good yields, though the tubers from one of the three sites in Shropshire, were over-large and prone to greening, says Mr Trounce.

"Commercially its seed management and burn-off date would need care."

Of the three potential french-fry types Markies, also from Agrico and having its third-year tests, produced good samples of bold tubers in the East. "But in Shropshire it gave very low numbers with an over-bold sample that tended to loose shape."

A year behind, MBMs Asterix is a red-skinned high dry matter variety. "It has good yield potential with bold tubers suitable for french fries. But it also loses shape if it gets too big."

Cabaret, from Cygnet, had fairly good output though its size varied. "It also suffered slug damage in Shropshire," he notes.

Picking potential winners from varieties further back in the system is more difficult, says Mr Trounce. But of those in year 1, the samples of Melody from MBM looked particularly attractive for pre-packing.

"And any variety with some pallida resistance, as has the coded maincrop from Greenvale in year 1, must be considered." &#42

FUTURE POTATO STARS?

&#8226 Lady Balfour – organic promise.

&#8226 Konsul – early baker potential.

&#8226 Markies, Asterix & Cabaret – for french fries.


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