Vales Sovereign potatoes

Vales Sovereign potatoes

Potato supplier Greenvale AP is making a limited volume of seed potato for its Vales Sovereign variety available on the open market for Scottish growers.

Vales Sovereign launched five years ago and has been well received by Greenvale AP growers ever since. It is known as an easy-to-grow, low-maintenance variety and has become a top choice for the white-potato pre-pack sector. In 2008 retailer Tesco recognised it as the best new variety in its fresh produce category. It is an early maincrop variety, bred by the James Hutton Institute (formerly SCRI) as part of a targeted breeding programme from Greenvale AP and has white tubers with red eyes and cream-coloured flesh. It is a versatile potato, good for general use as well as baking and roasting.

David Rankin, seed and procurement director at Greenvale AP, is now hoping that Vales Sovereign becomes one of the UK’s top 20 potatoes in 2012. He said: “Vales Sovereign is an ideal variety for Scottish growers. It can grow on land with little or no irrigation and has excellent common scab resistance - typically farmers can save around £400/ha over a season on irrigation costs. Vales Sovereign also has excellent disease resistance, particularly to blight, black dot and blackleg - something especially important to Scottish farmers who have experienced such a wet growing season this season. Finally, Vales Sovereign also needs a lower rate of nitrogen than comparable varieties, again offering the grower savings. At the Greenvale pack-house based in Duns we have certainly seen a large increase in the usage of Vales Sovereign partly because it stores well and has low wastage levels.”

Russell Brown, of Inverdovat, Newport, grows on rented land in north-east Fife. He said: “Using a variety like Vales Sovereign is vital because it does not need a great deal of management input in terms of fertilizer and will thrive on light to medium bodied land without irrigation. This allows me to concentrate resources on higher maintenance varieties such as Maris Piper.”

This year the company is encouraging Scottish based non-Greenvale AP growers to try Vales Sovereign to see for themselves how it performs. Seed is available on condition that the harvest from the crop is sold back to Greenvale AP.