Solynta demonstrates great progress in defiance of Late Blight
Is it possible to grow potatoes without the use of fungicides, in a place that is known for its high level of the harmful Phytophthora Infestans or Late Blight? Is there any potato variety that can withstand Late Blight and still give a good yield? At Solynta, we were determined to find out. That’s why we tested one of our newest varieties with enhanced Late Blight resistances at a trial site in Carlow, Ireland.
Our research partner conducted the testing on their trial fields located in the Carlow area. On May 19, one of Solynta’s newest robust potato varieties was planted, with enhanced late blight resistance together with three local commercial varieties, two of which are recognized in the market as having good ‘resistance’ to late blight. This trial was not sprayed to control late blight for the duration of the season. During the growing season, the field experienced unusually high late blight pressure which resulted in the eventual demise of all 3 commercial varieties.
As you can see in the time-lapse video below, the new Solynta variety with enhanced resistances against Late Blight withstood the intense pressure very well. This clearly demonstrates the progress that Solynta has made in developing new hybrid potato varieties with enhanced features and grower benefits. Solynta’s non-GMO hybrid breeding efforts have now developed a new category of hybrid potato: one that can withstand high Late Blight pressure in the field.
According to the Trials coordinator who conducted the testing, the Late Blight pressure in the field was immense. It was noted that, shortly after the official Late Blight warnings were issued by the Irish agriculture officials, the first, susceptible, variety died off within only a few days, and was soon followed by the other two varieties.
The Solynta variety (on the bottom left) not only stayed green with few Late Blight infected lesions, but continued to grow until the start of natural senescence.
Highest yield for Solynta variety
On September 12th, approximately 120 days after planting, the harvest was done. As expected, the yield figures showed the effect of the severe late blight conditions. The Solynta variety showed the highest yield in kg’s as well as the largest number of tubers per plant. The Trials coordinator commented that the Solynta variety had a higher number of potatoes per plant at harvest compared to the other varieties in the trial, which was exceptional.
In kilograms, the Solynta variety surpassed the other varieties, with up to 40 tubers per plant, making it an excellent candidate for the small potato / salad potato segment. Total yield can be viewed in the following graph on the left.
The Trials coordinator even performed a taste test with his team, by cooking and frying the Solynta potatoes, and he was pleasantly surprised by how well the potatoes tasted. This confirms our conviction that this particular variety is well suited to the table market.
Consistent with other trial results
The results seen in Ireland are consistent with other trials done by other organic growers in various geographies, such as Kenya, and in The Netherlands, Rwanda, Germany and Belgium. Our results show a total yield of between 23 and 35 Mt//Ha, which is considered an acceptable yield considering the potatoes have been grown without the use of any chemical fungicide and during the growing season.
Above all, these results indicate the fast progress Solynta has made in its recent breeding activities. “Our Ireland trials represent a pivotal moment for the potato industry, and for the improvement of food security around the world.” Solynta’s Chief Commercial Officer Joost van Regteren said. “Solynta is committed to supporting growers worldwide, including smallholder farmers, to feed their communities with a plentiful yield. Providing climate-resilient, robust hybrid potato varieties will empower all potato growers to produce successful yields without the need for investment in fungicides to combat Late Blight. Our hybrid true potato seeds will support both international commerce and local food supplies. With this trial, we have confirmation that we have identified the right genetics and now have a very strong base from which we can build even more robust new varieties. We will continue to refine and develop new varieties with even higher resistances against Late Blight, in addition to other favourable traits, such as high yield, bigger tubers and great taste. This development is the start of our a truly game-changing potato generation, based on hybrid true potato seed.,” he concludes. “We are indeed changing the game!”
Solynta is breeding a wide range of varieties adapted not only to Late Blight but, also unique soil and climate conditions through its patented non-GMO hybrid breeding technology. The aim is to support growers with customized varieties and expand suitable geographies for potato production. With these new hybrid varieties, we hope to contribute to a sustainable transformation of the potato value chain by offering new, disease-free starting material to potato growers, whilst considerably reducing the use of agricultural chemicals. Hybrid breeding allows Solynta researchers to develop new varieties more rapidly than traditional methods. It reduces the time needed to produce new varieties from 10 to 15 years to just 2 to 5 years. Thanks to this accelerated development, Solynta can quickly produce new hybrid varieties adapted to unique geographies.
With this trial in Ireland, we have shown that it is possible to grow hybrid potatoes from hybrid true potato seed without any agricultural chemicals. “Now it’s up to us to further improve and tailor our varieties to high yielding, nutritious varieties that can be marketed in various market segments (ware crop, processing) and all geographies. We are well underway” Joost concludes.
Would you like to learn more about the opportunities Hybrid True Potato Seed can offer you? Contact our Business Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Time-lapse video of the Solynta trial in Ireland, comparing 3 commercial varieties (2 with known resistances to Late Blight) to new Solynta variety with enhances resistances against Late Blight.