06 October 2022
How a potato variety is finding favour with UK growers.
UNLOCKING the potential of new potato varieties can help growers deal with the agronomic and cost challenges facing the potato sector.
Salad variety Jacky is one of the new varieties gaining area with high yield and attractive agronomic features.
Caroline Williams Agronomy Manager at Burgess Farms sees Jacky as a variety that can thrive in conventional and organic systems because of its blight resistance. In 2022, Burgess Farms took advantage of low blight pressure to grow a conventional crop of Jacky without any blight sprays.
“This year pressure was low near Diss where we were growing Jacky. Typically, we would have made five or six blight sprays to a salad potato crop so there is an immediate saving,” she said.
Burgess Farms packs Jacky as a baby new potato for Waitrose which reaches the shelves as soon as possible. The high tuber number and small tuber size make it a very appealing variety for this market segment.
“We find that planting densely helps us get the yield we want, with 95% tubers under 42mm. But there is still more work to do to refine planting and nutrition to get the best from Jacky,” said Caroline.
Salad specialist Emerald Produce is another potato business looking more closely at the commercial and agronomic potential of Jacky.
“The market for salad varieties has been stable for a long-term but we are now seeing cost pressures across the supply chain," said Robert Brown McKeen, Director at Emerald. “Double digit percentage increases in cost of production mean we need prolific varieties to offset it.
Jacky has now completed its third year of trials, the area grown this year was still quite small at 7.71ha and it has yielded well, he said.
"Does it have more potential? Yes, I think it does, we can probably get more from it if we can get the seed to test it more thoroughly.”
For more feedback and detail, see the fuller feature in next month's Potato Review. You can subscribe here if you don't already receive a copy.