TRADE AND MARKET I NG Poland on the road to EU-6 membership small packaging company Agrosad. That was a successful year. There was enough rain. We achieved an average yield of 50 tons per hectare on my relatively poor sandy soil. And the quality was also good’, she says with satisfaction. The money she earned was invested in the further development of her business. For example, an old barn was converted into a potato storage facility and she invested in her own Grimme SE 75-55 harvester and de-stoning machine. The sandy soil on her farm contains a lot of stones, which makes removing them necessary in order to achieve sustainable potato cultivation. Unlike growers in Scotland, for example, Polish growers in this region remove the stones from their land. ‘Then we won’t see them again later’, says Tołłoczko with a laugh. After a successful first year, the Polish grower expanded the acreage last year to 120 hectares and switched to seed potato cultivation for CN Nidzica. ‘Despite cultivaSeed potato grower Agnieszka Tołłoczko modernises her cultivation. tion in virgin potato soils, in 2018 and again this year, the yields were much lower at just 30 tons per hectare’, says FAST AND PRACTICAL TEST METHOD FOR RING ROT Wlodzimierz Przewodowski of the IHAR research institute in Bonin has developed a test method that allows growers in the field to carry out a ring rot test. ‘You can compare the test with a pregnancy test in which you get the results immediately,’ he explains on the Polish test field. ‘The ring rot test method will be available in practice next year and we can then start large-scale production’, says Wlodzimierz Przewodowski. With a trained eye, Przewodowski picks a number of leaves of a potato plant, which he then puts in a special plastic bag. This immunological test works with a system of patented antibodies, he tells us. Przewodowski crushes the leaves in the bag in an extraction buffer. This causes any pathogenic bacteria present to be released into the solution. He then places a strip in the bag which, after 15 minutes, gives a result as to whether or not the examined leaves have been affected. Przewodowski explains that, when carrying out the test, the strip always provides a line to indicate that the test is still effective. A second line on the result frame shows that ring rot is actually present in the sample. The Polish researcher is currently working on a combination strip in which growers can detect both brown and ring rot in the same test. ‘The test method will be available in practice next year and we can then start largescale production, if all goes well’, he says. Tołłoczko. This year, she again cultivated 120 hectares of seed potatoes of the Omega, Natasha, Yumbo, Belmonda, Albatros VR808, Maxinn, Soraya, and Babylov varieties on her hilly plots. In order to store the yield of her seed potato plots efficiently, she invested this year in modern box storage of a total of 3,000 tons. Investing in mini-tuber production Together with seed potato company CN Nidzica, an investment in a professional mini-tuber station is on the agenda for next year. ‘We’ve applied for an EU grant of 1 million euros for this’, says Bien´ kowski. ‘Investing in extra minituber production is urgently needed if we are to achieve the necessary growth in certified seed’, emphasises the CN Nidzica director. He explains that, at the moment, Polish growers, annually refresh around 12 percent of their seed potatoes. ‘This is also the cause of our ring rot problem, because, especially among the smaller growers there is no phytosanitary control whatsoever. After fifty years of communist oppression, older growers in particular have a deepSeated distrust of the government. This means that it will require a great deal of effort to implement changes in the cultivation system. If we want to bring the Polish potato sector to a higher level, we must first of all ensure that we bring the Potato World 2020 • number 1 39 Pagina 38

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