How are our potato plants doing?

As spring sets in, our potato growers are bustling with activity!

Agro_DSC_0758

Our farmers order potato plants at the beginning of the year when they sign their contracts for the future harvest. At that point, the plan for the various crops on the farm is finalised.

From early March onwards, the plants start being delivered over 7 to 8 weeks. The most important thing is that the plant is properly out of dormancy when it is planted. A plant that has broken out of dormancy means one that has begun to sprout. To get to this stage, the seedling must be stored in an airy area free of anti-sprouting agents and in a bright light. Depending on the farm’s infrastructure and the quantities to be handled, the farmer determines the ideal delivery period.

At the same time – weather permitting – the farmer can undertake some pre-planting work such as the removal of inter-crop cover and the application of basic fertilisers (potash and phosphorus). Nitrogen is introduced just before planting when the soil is being cultivated to reduce losses resulting from ammonia volatilization, particularly when the latter is sprayed as a nitrogen solution.

Potato cultivation requires fairly heavy agricultural equipment. Before planting, the soil must be ploughed and loosened in depth gradually so that it warms up as the cultivation progresses. This demands engine power and the use of various tools: cultivators, ploughs or decompactors, rotary harrows or tillers. These different operations are usually carried out by the farmer themselves. Planting and ridging are done in one passage. Since not all farmers have their own planting machine for these operations, they call in an external service provider.