Say potato, say Agrico
Agrico UK has access to unique varieties bred by our sister company Agrico Research in the Netherlands.
Agrico Research, located in Potato Valley (Bant, Noordoostpolder) in the Netherlands, has its own glasshouse complex of 4,000 m2 that is used for the development of new potato varieties and intensive research. Agrico Research's breeding process uses the latest insights in genetics and breeding techniques and works closely with affiliated breeders. The breeding company offers these breeders genetic starting material and organises central testing. In a later phase, Agrico Research ensures the propagation of the seedlings that are under selection.
The breeding company contains various laboratories for determining cultivation characteristics such as, the frying quality of French fries/crisping varieties and the cooking quality of table potatoes. Intensive research is also being conducted into disease resistance and the desired variety characteristics are examined using DNA marker technology. Many new varieties are tested every year on 30 hectares of trial fields.
Research and development is of great importance to Agrico UK and we are conducting work in the following areas:
We seek to learn and understand consumers culinary behaviours and the overall performance of our varieties. In collaboration with Abertay University, we will design, develop, implement and evaluate artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for collecting data from sensory evaluation home use tests, in order to optimise the description of our potato varieties, based on acceptable taste attributes combined with agronomic characteristics.
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In collaboration with Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) we are working on the pedigree analysis project.
Pedigree analysis allows us to determine the estimated breeding values of parent plants for various traits prior to crossing in the glasshouses at Agrico Research.
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The bacteriophage project in conjunction with Advanced Pest Solutions (ASP) and partners aim to develop a phage product capable of curbing the negative effects of bacterial infection (Pectobacterium alleles such as Atroseptica and Carotovorum) commonly known as Blackleg. Extensive field trials of the past 6 years clear demonstrate efficacy so the consortium is optimistic that a licensed product will become availabletothe market in the near future. Currently the project is seeking first label approval from the Chemical Regulatory Directorate (CRD).
Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) trials are carried out each year to help identify/monitor cultivars that have resistance and/or tolerance to G. pallida and how they respond with and without nematicide treatment. Our varieties Arsenal and Performer have been shown to significantly reduce the population of G. pallida in the soil.
To build upon our cross-cultural sensory and consumer study we regularly conduct central location testing to compare our varieties’ eating quality. This involves not only collecting descriptive sensory information but also importantly consumer acceptability. We have worked on projects at both Abertay and Queen Margaret universities.
Customer variety trials (open days), the main one being at Hundreds Farm, Crowland, near Peterborough.
Along with its subsidiaries, Agrico works continually to grow in strength for the future. After years of intensive breeding work, in 2018 Agrico became the first trading company to launch a full range of Phytophthora-resistant (late blight) varieties onto the market: the Next Generation potatoes. Agrico frequently adds varieties suitable for various segments to this range.
In addition to very high resistance to the world’s most common potato disease Phytophthora infestans (late blight), these varieties have excellent consumption quality and achieve high yields. Agrico works with its customers to make potato cultivation more sustainable and to offer a diverse range in terms of taste, appearance and processing possibilities.
You can find more information on Next Generation varieties.
Agrico Research works intensively on developing new, innovative potato varieties and is the leading knowledge institute in this field. We work on various breeding objectives aimed at developing varieties to meet the specific wishes of growers, the processing industry and the consumer, both now, in the future and around the world.
If you have a specific question or would like to know more about research carried out at Agrico UK, contact us.