UK Checks Out NZ Seed

Published online: Oct 27, 2003
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A run of 12 potato-breeding lines developed for seed production by New Zealand's Crop and Food Research Dept., has tested free of viruses in the United Kingdom and has been released from quarantine.

They are being multiplied from tissue culture for trial planting in Northern Ireland.

Crop and Food Research has a production and marketing agreement with a consortium of Northern Ireland potato breeders and exporters and the Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland.

Some of the yet-to-be-named cultivars created by potato breeders Russell Genet and John Anderson have exceptional potato cyst nematode resistance.

Aside from being able to stand up against soil parasites, those breeding lines destined for processing can withstand cold temperature-induced sweetening, an important quality for making crisps from stored potatoes.

An agreement was signed for the production and marketing of the cultivar this year between the Christrchurch company and the consortium.

Crop and Food Research Crop seed manager Sam White said the Irish partners were attracted to the nematode resistance of the breeding material but it also has to have good eating quality and be grower-friendly for the fresh and processing markets.

After trials in Northern Ireland, the plan is to market the cultivars in Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean.