For potato growers, 2019 has been a mixed year. Many producers this season decided to start growing potatoes for processing, and this poses new challenges for breeders and agronomists and entails further development of the market. At the same time, new changes in state standards, according to experts, cast doubt on the development of the industry.
The correspondents of the magazine “Understood how potato growers stay afloat”».
In 2018, a large joint venture of the GK Group was opened in the Lipetsk Region”And Lamb Weston / Meijer (the world leader in potato production) - a French fries factory. The enterprise has not yet reached full capacity, but, according to market analysts, the volume of imports of french fries to Russia has already decreased. In addition, Lipetsk fries are also produced for export to Israel, Europe and Africa.
Russian chips and french fries
“We expect that in the second half of 2019, a similar plant in the Moscow region, the company“ will fully work“- with a processing potential of about 70 thousand tons of raw materials,” says Alexey Krasilnikov, Executive Director of the Potato Union. “The plans of Russian investors also have a serious object for partial processing in Tyumen on the basis of the Agrofirm“ ”With a capacity of 30 thousand tons of processing potatoes and vegetables. We do not see any other major projects in this direction, although in 2019 it is planned to begin the construction of a branch of a chips factory in the Siberian region, but this is only a project. ”
With the increase in the production of domestic potatoes, which are processed for fast food enterprises, it is logical to assume that the interest of producers in new varieties designed specifically for these purposes will increase. Today, unfortunately, Russian producers, although they grow such potatoes on their own, are still working with foreign breeding - there are simply no domestic varieties suitable for the production of chips or french fries.
“We still have little optimism in the selection of varieties for fries and potato chips, although it probably should be present,” says Aleksey Krasilnikov, “because there is a pilot program for the development of selection and seed production of potatoes, for which about 11 are allocated from the federal budget alone billion rubles Partially these funds have already been brought to the performers. The program announced about 24 participants. According to this program, it is expected that by 2025, Russian breeders will produce at least 12 varieties of domestic selection that are not inferior in quality to varieties of foreign selection. And although we insisted that, within the framework of these indicators, varieties for industrial processing should be separately bred, we, unfortunately, were not heard. Therefore, one can only guess what our breeders will offer by 2025. "
Today, selection is carried out in the direction specified by the final consumer of the product, notes Anna Khrabrova, commercial manager of the company HZPC Sadokas (selection and seed production of potatoes). “The potato market is segmented: for example, there are separately selected varieties intended for washing, separately for processing, and there are also several directions, including french fries, potato chips and potatoes to produce high-quality starch. Separately, varieties are distinguished for the traditional market. Each of these segments within itself is also divided into parts. Accordingly, taking into account the wishes of the end user of the product, depending on its features and needs, selection also develops. ” For example, varieties with pale yellow flesh, an elongated tuber shape and a stable content of reduced sugars throughout the entire storage period are desirable for french fries, the specialist adds.
At the request of the consumer
Today, consumers pay attention not only to taste, but also to the appearance of potatoes, since the product on the shelves is "chosen by the eyes," says Anna Khrabrova. Accordingly, the breeders have an additional task - to make the product outwardly attractive. “In varieties bred 20-25 years ago, in most cases, deep eyes, and the brightness of the peel is out of the question. “Today, the visual appeal of a product is a very important requirement,” says the specialist. - And the second requirement, the manufacturer’s requirement, is the gross fee. So, for our customers, producers of early table potatoes, the most important indicator is a high yield at an early ripening period. These parameters (appearance, yield, ripening period) will be present in the variety only if the breeder initially focuses on them, choosing parent forms with the required starting parameters. I would not say that the potato market is conservative, it is rather a market for analogue varieties. Agricultural producers want and are ready to work with new varieties, but they need the new variety to be an improved version of the promoted variety. ” Advanced farms that work with intensive technology are doing their best to reduce the cost of the product without losing quality. This can be achieved by increasing the gross yield of a standard product. Varieties bred in the past had different orientations. For example, they were more focused on the presence of resistance to diseases, because at the time of their creation there was not yet such a powerful system of plant protection, as now, the commercial manager draws attention HZPC Sadokas.
The main thing is technology
Each variety requires compliance with a specific production technology. “For example, in our product line there is a variety of potatoes, which today is one of the leaders in sales,” says Anna Khrabrova. - Now the market knows about his qualities, and he actually sells himself, but he did not immediately become that way. Some work was done with the agrarians. For many, it was new to the requirement that this variety should be planted 2 cm deeper than standard technology provides. And these centimeters give the tuber an additional place for the formation of stolons, which allows to realize the potential to the maximum. " Another example is varieties with apical dominance (the development of the apical tuber bud, which grows faster and slows the growth of lateral buds), the specialist continues. There are few such varieties, but they are, and among them there are very famous varieties. Such an individual peculiarity of the variety must be taken into account in order to select the correct technology for the preparation of planting material. It is advisable to break off the apical sprout in a timely manner, which will make it possible to awaken the side kidneys. Assuming that each stem produces 3 tubers, the mathematics of the process is obvious. Instead of one apical stem, the plant forms 3-4 shoots, each of which lays 3 tubers. Knowing the nuances of cultivating the cultivar brings obvious economic benefits.
Potato growers of the Vologda Oblast know firsthand how the correct cultivation technology is able to raise an agricultural enterprise literally from ruins. It was here, on the site of a large collective agricultural enterprise that broke up in the nineties, that modern private potato farms were created.
“Finnish specialists conducted seminars on potato cultivation,” recalls Vasily Soloviev, head of the farm (Vologda Oblast), “who were invited by the district administration. They talked about proper farming and potato cultivation technology. Then a guideline was outlined in the work. Then there were storages that you could look at and find out what to focus on. Before that, our storage was in collars. They showed us how to systematize the production process, a Finnish specialist came to the farm and completely controlled the process of growing potatoes in the first few years of our work. He calculated methods, taught to plan productivity. I calculated according to the formulas what the additional yield would be. It surprised me then. The push was very strong. That’s it. ”
Now Vasily Solovyov specializes in the cultivation of seed potatoes of high reproductions, starting with mini-tubers and ending with the first reproduction. The area under planting of seed potatoes occupies more than 150 hectares. “Six full-time workers are involved in the production,” says the farmer. “That is, it turns out that only a few people using modern technology produce more than 5 thousand tons of potatoes.” Seed potatoes are sold in many regions of Russia - from the Vologda Oblast to Astrakhan. In total, the farm grows more than fifteen varieties of potatoes, the head of the peasant farm shares. The farm is part of the primary seed production structure of the Vologda Oblast, the sale of seeds of high reproductions is the main source of its income.
Several more farms are engaged in the cultivation of seed potatoes of high reproductions in the former agricultural enterprise. All of them are part of the Ustyuzhensky Potato cooperative, chaired by Vasily Solovyov.
Meanwhile, with all the external positiveness of the situation with the development of the potato seed market and the revival of domestic seed production, experts assess the new rules established in this area ambiguously. On January 1, 2018, the new GOST 33996–2016 on seed reproduction potatoes came into force, which gives some relief in the field of potato diseases and partially contributes to their spread throughout Russia.
“The main categories of potatoes cultivated by farmers are elite (ES) and reproduction (RP), mainly 1st or 2nd reproductions, for which the least“ soft ”requirements are established according to the new GOST,” explains Alexander Hutti, Head of Sector Potato diseases Laboratory of plant immunity to VIZR diseases. He notes that these categories (ES, RP1 and RP2) are leaders in both planting areas and seed potato purchases, especially from abroad. The latter is especially important, because the “purity” of imported seed material and the absence of both quarantine and non-quarantine pathogens is a fundamental factor in the culture of potato growing and the key to successful cultivation and obtaining high potato yields, the expert is convinced.
An important point: potatoes are the only crop for which crop losses from “mushroom” diseases can be up to half of the potential, even with the use of protection schemes, continues Alexander Hutti. Moreover, the resulting crop will almost always be “clean” or with mild symptomatic manifestations of certain diseases. Moreover, the new GOST does not take into account part of the onset of the infectious process, called or defined as a “latent” form. The danger of such a “latent” form is clear from the name: in the absence of visible typical symptoms of the causative agent of the disease, the affected seed potato is a “time bomb” that will inevitably lead to the accumulation of infection and crop loss to one degree or another, the expert warns.
According to the representatives of the Potato Union, many discrepancies today arise due to the fact that the new GOST is international - it was developed throughout the territory of the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. "This year, the All-Russian Research Institute of Potato Economy named after A. G. Lorha, who was one of the developers of GOST, said that he intends to improve the national GOST for seed potatoes, - said Alexei Krasilnikov. - By the way, this standard was widely discussed, and we very carefully approached its adoption. Yes, we were forced not to tighten the requirements for the level of diseases, because, otherwise, most seed companies could not answer them. We would just be left without seed potatoes. That is, he would be, of course, but he would no longer meet the requirements, ”the expert summarizes.
Alexander Hütti, Head of the Potato Disease Sector, Laboratory of Plant Immunity to Diseases VIZR “Over the past decade, especially the last few years, the symptoms of the manifestation of pathogens of potato fungal diseases have changed dramatically. For example, the causative agent of black scab (mushroom Rhizoctonia solani JG Kuhn) or, as it is commonly called, rhizoctoniasis is increasingly found on tubers in the form of specific-sized, different rounded ulcers, from single to numerous, scattered randomly on the tuber surface. Such ulcers can easily be confused with the manifestation of such a dangerous disease as tuberous scab. In addition to specific round-shaped ulcers, the disease manifests itself in the form of necrosis, cracks, sclerotic mesh, rotting of the eyes and lentils, and less and less commonly known black sclerotia, while the new GOST is narrowly aimed only at identifying the aforementioned sclerotia, and the tuber should not be covered with them less than 10% of the total occupied area. Otherwise, with less damage, such a tuber is considered healthy and can be used for seed in the corresponding reproductive category. In addition, it is surprising that there is no information that the size of sclerotia is of paramount importance in terms of infectious ability and harm caused, since the larger the sclerotia, the more harmful it is. And small sclerotia usually lead a saprophytic mode of existence without harming the tuber, and for example, the presence of several large sclerotia is most potentially dangerous: they will do more harm than numerous small ones.
It is worth noting that, for other fungal diseases, the new GOST is one-sided, because for some reason it takes into account only one specific symptomatic manifestation of a particular disease. As a rule, several pathogens of potato diseases are involved in the infectious process, with the only difference being that one disease is the root cause of the disease, and the rest are connected subsequently, making diagnosis difficult or leading to an incorrect determination of the pathogen due to blurred symptoms. In this regard, the identification of a single pathogen without a comprehensive study of the entire pathogenic complex may serve in the future to incorrectly assign the reproductive category. Interestingly, in the new GOST, when several pathogens are detected on a tuber, only one is selected from the list in the order of the proposed sequence, and the rest are not taken into account at all, which looks somewhat strange. As an example, pathogens of anthracnose and blackleg, phomosis, fusarium and alternariosis, which can occur on the tuber at the same time and serve as an incorrect diagnosis, can be cited. ”
A source: https://www.agroinvestor.ru