AHDB Launches Potato Variety Comparison Tool
Potato growers can now benefit from a new AHDB variety tool, offering an interactive way to select cultivars based on varietal pest and disease-resistance ratings. Picking which variety to plant next spring can be time-consuming, with 249 listed on the AHDB’s potato variety database.
The online tool is set to make this decision-making process simpler and easier. Growers can compare selected varieties, examine trends, filter down suggestions, while also using the ‘Change over time’ element to identify current popular varieties.
Anne Stone, AHDB Potatoes knowledge exchange manager, said the tool aims to make information more accessible to the whole industry.
“For packers, it is an important, but difficult decision to choose which varieties to put forward to the retailer, and for growers it is a challenge to know which variety should be planted in which field,” she said. The tool will aid growers and agronomists to help pick the right variety, while identifying potential weaknesses and how best to use the genetic resources available. The practical tool for agronomists and growers was developed by taking information from the potato variety database and combining this with our market intelligence information.”
The group’s data development analyst, Kevin Dowle, said the tool focuses on three key agronomic elements: compare, filter and suggest. Firstly, the compare section directly compares resistance characteristics of selected varieties. Results are displayed in graph form, where each bar represents a different disease resistance score. Users have the option to delve deeper into market trends, dormancy data, diseases and nitrogen applications.
Next comes the filter option, which allows users to specify given traits, consisting of market sector, skin color, shape, maturity and organic production to narrow down potential variety choices.
Finally, the suggest option offers alternatives to the specific varieties based on key traits. However, Dowle admitted more work is required on this function. He hopes to integrate additional market data into the function to generate more detailed suggestions.