New potato varieties tackle carbon footprint

The Sarvari Research Trust in Wales has launched four new potato varieties designed to help growers reduce their carbon footprint.

The four new varieties - Sarpo Una, Sarpo Shona, Blue Danube and Kifli - were awarded listing status by the Potato Council in June, following 10 years of research and trials.

They were officially launched last Friday (14 August) on the trust's open day, where visitors were shown Sarvari trials at Henfaes and Anglesey.

They are being described by the trust as "low-carbon" varieties as their high resistance to blight and other diseases and pests means that they require fewer chemical treatments and are suitable for organic growing.

Director of research David Shaw said: "There's a great deal of interest, following Defra's first UK Food Security Assessment, in making our crops more environmentally friendly and sustainable. People often find it a desperate struggle to grow healthy potatoes organically - they just can't do it. But what we have got is potatoes that can stand on their own two feet.

"They do not need spraying - blight, aphid or weed sprays - and they are vigorous so they require less fertiliser.

"They are also more drought-resistant and can be stored in an uncooled store, so they do not need anti-sprout chemicals. It's too good to be true in some ways. And yes, you can actually eat them."

The Kifli variety on the British Potato Variety Database, for example, has been given the maximum rating of nine for its resistance to the potato cyst nematode.


Sarpo Una Early main crop with good foliage blight and tuber blight resistance.

Sarpo Shona Blight-resistant and potato virus Yo-resistant white-skinned variety with early main-crop maturity.

Kifli Long, white-skinned variety with medium resistance to late blight and high resistance to potato virus Yo.

Blue Danube Second early main-crop with blue-skinned tubers. It has good resistance to potato virus Yo and leafroll viruses, blackleg, dry rot (Fusarium solani x coeruleum) and PCN Ro1.

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