For the first time, leading potato supplier Greenvale AP is making a limited amount of its seed potato variety, the Vales Sovereign, available on the open market to Scottish potato farmers.
The easy-to-grow, low maintenance variety has been hugely successful since launching five years ago becoming the number one choice for the white potato pre-pack sector and in 2008 was recognized as Tesco’s best new variety in the fresh produce category. It is an early main crop variety, bred by the James Hutton Institute (formerly SCRI) as part of a targeted breeding programme from Greenvale AP and has white tubers with red eyes and cream flesh. It is a versatile potato which is good for general use or baking but also makes an excellent roast potato.
David Rankin, Seed and Procurement Director for Greenvale AP, anticipates that Vales Sovereign could be one of the UK’s top 20 potatoes in 2012. He explains its popularity with growers: “The Vales Sovereign is an ideal variety for Scottish growers. It can grow on land with little or no irrigation - typically farmers can save around £400/ha over a season on irrigation costs. Vales Sovereign also has excellent disease resistance, particularly to blight, black dot and blackleg – something especially important to Scottish farmers who experienced such a wet growing season this year. Finally Vales Sovereign also needs a lower rate of nitrogen than comparable varieties, again offering the grower savings. At the Greenvale pack-house based in Duns we have certainly seen a large increase in the usage of Vales Sovereign partly because they store well and have low wastage levels.”
Russell Brown, of Inverdovat, Newport, who uses a lot of rented land on North East Fife said: “Using a variety like Vales Sovereign is vital because it does not need a great deal of management input in terms of fertilizer and will thrive on light to medium bodied land without irrigation. This allows me to concentrate resources on higher maintenance varieties such as Maris Piper.”
This year the company is encouraging Scottish based non-Greenvale AP growers to try this fantastic variety to see for themselves how well it performs. Potato seeds for next year’s planting season are available on condition that the harvest from the crop will be sold back to Greenvale AP.
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