Late processing varieties are reportedly yielding lower than the multi-year average in Belgium, but processed products are said to be of excellent quality. This became clear during trial digs of the Fontane and Challenger varieties recently, according to a report published (in Dutch) by agriculture magazine Nieuwe Oogst.
According to Nieuwe Oogst journalist Han Reindsen, samples were taken on 10 and 11 August to evaluate the yield and quality of the Fontane and Challenger varieties. In Flanders, these samples are dug collaboratively by Inagro, PCA, BDB, PIBO and the Flemish government. In Wallonia, Fiwap and Carah are responsible for the trial digs.
This involves a bi-weekly sampling of the same potato fields to assess the yield, grade and quality of the two varieties. The 31 lots planted with Fontane and 18 lots planted with Challenger are spread over all provinces. Fontane is by far the most important late fry variety in Belgium. Challenger is currently being planted on a larger area than Bintje.
The total yield (including waste) for Fontane was 37 tons per hectare, a yield that is lower than the multi-year average. The same result is seen after sorting. Growth per day is also lower than normal. This is to be expected given the drought and heat the potatoes had to deal with.
Challenger is still lagging behind with a total yield of around 34 tons per hectare, but yielded more tubers per plant. The dry matter content of tubers has become even higher in recent weeks due to the dry soil conditions. The fry quality is good.