Hassel and Nansen – new potato varieties from Graminor

Hassel and Nansen are two new fresh potato varieties from Graminor developed for Nordic growing conditions

Hassel (G05-0045) is a yellow, early variety that can be harvested earlier than any other variety in Norway today. It has a good flavour and gives a good yield. It is also resistant to common scab .

Nansen (G06-1150) is a semi-early, red fresh potato. It gives a high yield, has a very good flavour, a smooth skin, an attractive appearance and also a nice colour when boiled. Nansen is stronger than average with regard to disease and is particularly resistant to late blight  .

Developing new potato varieties

Each year Graminor crosses potato varieties with the objective of producing a new variety that is better than any of the potato varieties on the market today. The development of a new variety can take as long as 12 years. After crossing, new varieties are selected over several years based on specific properties such as taste, appearance, disease resistance etc. When we have a promising candidate it has to be sent abroad for a DUS-test to confirm that it is a new variety. The DUS-test is designed to show that the variety can be distinguished from other varieties by being Distinct, uniform (Uniformity) and has stable properties (Stability). Testing of new varieties is carried out outside Norway, on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. Both Hassel and Nansen have passed the DUS-test, and were granted legal protection (including plant breeder rights and names) at a meeting of the Norwegian Plant Variety Board in November 2016.

The two varieties have another year in trials before they can be approved for inclusion in the official list of Norwegian varieties. The trials involve cultivation together with already approved varieties and comparisons with these for several important properties, such as:

  • Yield level
  • Earliness
  • Number and size of the tubers
  • Solids and starch content
  • Resistance to disease such as dry rot, stem rot and various types of scurf and virus

Named after polar explorers

Both potato varieties are named after famous polar explorers. Hassel is named after Sverre Helge Hassel, who was one of the five members of Roald Amundsen’s expedition that was the first to reach the South Pole. Nansen is named after Fridtjof Nansen (1861 – 1930) who led, among others, the Greenland expedition that was the first to cross the Greenland icecap on skis.