GPS Potato Breeders: ‘As Scottish growers, we focus mainly on the home market.’



Every year in the first full week of November, the European potato breeding and seed trading companies operating in the Netherlands present their new varieties and latest breeding results to their global customer base.

Many of these new varieties are intended to be used some day for the production of French Fries. All participants at what we here at PotatoPro call the ‘Potato Variety Presentations in the Netherlands” (of doodgewoon rassenpresentaties in het Nederlands) have one or more contenders in this segment.

This raises the question:

“Is there room for all those new French-fry varieties?”

That is the question Aardappelwereld (World Potato Magazine) asked the participating companies. And thanks to our brand new partnership agreement with them, we can report you the answers they got in this series of articles!

GPS Potato Breeders, Angus

David Murdie, Potato Manager at GPS Potato Breeders, Angus:

“I should, of course, introduce myself before answering the question. We’re a young company in
which three Scottish companies participate: Grampian Growers, E. Park & Sons and Skea Organics.”

“About seven years ago, we decided to start our own potato breeding programme under the name
GPS Potato Breeders. We do this in collaboration with the Scottish research station for agricultural
crops, The James Hutton Institute.”

“During these variety presentation days we’re sharing a space with Agroplant. The connection with this Dutch company is that we represent their varieties.”

“Besides
growing, propagating and trading third party varieties, we’ve been growing our own varieties for a
number of years now. We’re testing these not only in Scotland, but also in other countries such as
Thailand, Indonesia Israel and Egypt. In the Netherlands, we recently signed an agreement for this
with arable farmer Philip Kroes in Dronten. He’ll also represent our varieties here in the future.”

(Click to enlarge)

Setting up a test plot (Courtesy: GPS Potato Breeders)

David Murdie:

“In
those seven years of breeding potato varieties, we’ve already produced 23 very promising numbers.
Among them are also 6 varieties that are suitable for French fries. That also gives the answer to your
question, yes, there is a need for new French-fry varieties, otherwise we as a young breeding
company wouldn’t have started doing this of course.”

“In addition, as Scottish growers, we focus
mainly on the home market, which means chips. We have 10,000 fish and chip shops here, all small
businesses with specific requirements. When it comes to French fries, this means in any case good
storage quality, not only in the grower’s storehouse, but also in the paper bag in which they’re
delivered as chips.”

“Furthermore, a variety should stand out in taste and texture. One characteristic
that plays a role in this is the dry matter content, which should be relatively high. We aim for 22
percent and that’s what we focus on in the young breeding programme.”

Potato Variety Presentation GPS Potato Breeders

GPS Potato Breeders holds its presentations from November 6 to 8 sharing a space with Agroplant at:
Bij Ons in de Wellerwaard
Friesepad 4a
8305 AZ Emmeloord
The Netherlands



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