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

David Murdie, Potato Manager at GPS Potato Breeders, Angus: ‘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 last year. 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 is not participating in the presentations this year