Quality in the Breed Quality in the Seed

We have an experienced team of experts dedicated to the production of the finest quality seed potatoes.

IPM produce and supply high quality seed from multiple bases in Europe and Africa: Ireland, Scotland, Holland, France and Kenya.

IPM also has agreements for licensed production varieties in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Potato Breeding / New Variety Development

IPM is committed to the long term sustainability of the potato crop and the potato sector through commitment to potato breeding. IPM’s involvement in potato breeding and variety selection began in the 1960’s when seedlings were tested by IPM in overseas markets and soon this activity developed into a partnership with what is now Teagasc.  IPM’s potato breeding activities are based at the Teagasc Oak Park Research Centre, Co Carlow, Ireland.  IPM and Teagasc have been partners in developing new and improved potato varieties for over fifty years.

The most recent Collaborative agreement signed in 2019 confirms the commitment of both parties to potato variety improvement into the future. In the early years, some of the key objectives were to develop new varieties with better resistance to disease and pests, particularly late blight and potato cyst nematode (PCN). The variety Cara introduced in the mid 1970’s, with resistance to PCN and late blight was an outstanding success in the UK, Canary Islands and the Mediternean region. Rooster introduced in 1990 is by far the preferred potato variety in Ireland. It’s a favourite with growers due to its excellent combination of disease resistance, good storage characteristics and high yield and its versatility in the kitchen has helped make it the success that it is.

The successes of Cara and Rooster are followed by many other new varieties introduced over the decades, such as Burren, Banba, Orla and Electra which brought yield and quality improvement to growers and other stakeholders through the supply chain. While in the early years the breeding focus was predominantly on the fresh sector, much greater emphasis has been placed on developing varieties for the processing (French fry and crisp/snack) sector. Fidelity is a very promising new variety introduced for the crisping sector, and several other promising seedlings are at an advanced stage of development for the French fry sector.

The techniques used to evaluate breeding lines have also changed over the decades. Marker aided selection (MAS) is now used in the breeding programme, whereby genetic markers have been developed which can confirm the inheritance of desirable genes from parents to progeny, making the breeding process faster and more efficient. MAS is mainly used to identify seedlings which have inherited resistance to PCN, and has been deployed very effectively in the development of the variety Buster, which has exceptional resistance to both species of PCN. New markers are constantly under development for other traits.

IPM and Teagasc staff work together in identifying priorities for potato breeding into the future, and in selecting seedlings at sites in Ireland, the UK, and various other trial sites in the Mediterranean and North African region. Historic priorities like yield, pest & disease resistance, heat tolerance and good storage characteristics are still important, and newer priorities such as drought tolerance, lower fertiliser requirement, lower pesticide requirements and lower energy requirements attract greater emphasis.

With the introduction of plant breeder’s rights in the 1960’s, the protection of intellectual property of new varieties enabled the collection of royalties to support research and breeding efforts, and both parties identified opportunities in the future and the need for collaboration.

Industry Challenge

IPM &Teagasc recognised that, as Potato Breeding has a long lead time (It takes twelve years to produce a new potato variety, requiring rigorous testing for consumer quality, market suitability, disease resistance and adaptation to different adro-ecologies) a close, structured long-term partnership was required.

Solution

In the early 1970’s, a partnership was formed betweenTeagas and IPM to breed new varieties for a diverse range of global markets. This formal partnership is now in place for almost 50 years. As part of this collabo-ration, thousands of seedlings are tested initially in Ireland and thereafter selected lines are evaluated under different growing conditions in a wide range of geographic locations, to ensure they are suited to different environments. Usually one or two varieties are released each year for different market segments such as fresh consumption, processing and export.This long term strategy enabled goals to be set and resources to be put in place. Goals such as a high dry matter, versatile variety with good disease resistance for the Irish market, and a variety with nematode resistance for the UK market were among the targets set. Rooster and Cara respectively ticked these boxes with great Suc-cess.

Engagement Type

This is an on-going collaborative research project with IPM.Teagasc’s Technology Transfer Office provided support in concluding the most recent collaboration.

Impact on the Company

The collaboration with IPM, which continues to this day, has expanded the scope of the breeding programme to breed for global markets. Forty five varieties have been released in the intervening period with over 29 of these still being marketed commercially or under early development. Rooster is by far the best known of these varieties in Ireland and now accounts for over 60% of the total Irish potato area. Cara was the first successful variety released and is still popular in the UK, Canary Islands and Egypt. Varieties such as Baba, Burren, Nectar and Electra are currently the most widely marketed varieties and seed produced in North Western Europe is exported to over 40 countries mainly in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Teagasc/ IPM varieties are being grown as far afield as Australia, Kenya and Brazil under local seed production agreements.

Some IPM varieties

Key fact about particular potato

Key fact about particular potato

Why do we need quality seed

Safeguarding Food Security

Supporting Global
Demand

Better quality for consumer

Reduced Environmental impact

Who Benefits

Farmer

Higher yields of saleable product
Reduced dependence on chemicals
Lower cost of production

Consumer

Improved culinary profile
Supporting sustainability
Stable and consistent supply

Industry

New market opportunities
Maximise uniformity and skin finish
Supporting sustainability

Environment

Drought resistance – less reliance on irrigation
Reduced use of pesticides
Lower fertiliser rates

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Play Video

With focus in the industry moving to more sustainable agricultural practices, alongside the sharp increase in fertiliser costs, it is relevant to pinpoint which varieties perform well at a lower rate of nitrogen, maintaining yield and appropriate dry matter.

NEW VARIETIES

NiTROGEN

The Nitrogen demands differ hugely between varieties.
This is why, in 2023, we invested into researching the requirements of our portfolio of new varieties. 

The trial was located in the northern arable region in the Netherlands and the varieties included were Belami, Buffalo, Buster, Fidelity, Geronimo, Paradox, Sensation, Supernova, Tornado, and advanced seedling T7081/05.