All agronomists are well aware of the concept of a sort conveyor. The section conveyor is an important indicator for organizing the rational use of enterprise resources. How important it is for potato growers, says Anna Khrabrova, commercial manager of the company HZPC Sadokas.
- If we talk about the "varietal conveyor" in the context of potato growing, the term can be defined as follows: "Varietal conveyor is the use in the production of potatoes of a certain number of varieties of different ripeness groups, different peel colors, which most fully correspond to the soil and climatic conditions of a particular farm and the needs of buyers the final product (table, raw, seed potatoes) ".
What is the advantage of cultivating several varieties at once?
- Of course, each farmer would like to work with one unique variety: productive, unpretentious, resistant to diseases and natural disasters, suitable for long-term storage, washing, etc. But there is no ideal, the weather brings surprises every year. To minimize risks, it is more logical to work with a line of varieties.
What varieties should be preferred when forming a sort conveyor?
- In Russia, where the main part of potatoes is grown in the zone of risky farming, the standard line should consist of 70% of varieties of early, medium-early and medium ripeness groups and only 30% of varieties of ultra-early, medium-late and late ripeness groups. At the same time, say, the Southern Federal District may change this ratio in favor of ultra-early and early varieties. The choice of varieties in all regions should be made by farmers themselves, taking into account the possible risks of production, the specialization of the region and the needs of consumers.
For example, in the Chernozem region, where the sum of positive temperatures for the growing season allows growing late varieties of potatoes and obtaining a yield of up to 100 t / ha, there are areas with heavy soil, where harvesting in rainy autumn is almost impossible. A rich crop in an unfortunate combination of circumstances will simply have to be left in the field. At the same time, in recent years in the Central Black Earth Zone there has been an obvious shift in the interests of agrarians towards the production of potatoes for processing, which is caused by the localization of processing plants there. At the same time, the neighboring regions of Central Russia produce large volumes of table potatoes, and the consumer in supermarkets prefers the quality of table potatoes from these regions.
The cultivation of varieties of different ripeness groups allows a rational approach to the organization of harvesting: potatoes can be harvested sequentially as they ripen, which will help reduce the load on equipment and require the involvement of fewer workers.
How many varieties can be included in a sorting conveyor?
- Ideally - 5-6 varieties grown according to the standard technology of the enterprise should make up about 80-85% of the total production. The harvest of these varieties will constitute the basic economic platform of the enterprise. This indicator reduces the risks of a mixture of varieties, allows you to combine container and bulk storage, provides an opportunity for the rational use of storage tanks and equipment. At the same time, one should not forget about testing new varieties and various new technologies for varieties, but "experiments" should not exceed 15-20%.
Note that from the point of view of experts HZPCThe cultivation of a new variety on an area of about 1 hectare, according to the classical production scheme of this enterprise, is considered to be a competent test of a variety, which makes it possible to assess its potential.
How do graded conveyor principles help to organize potato storage?
- When the product is put into storage, it is necessary to correctly place in the warehouse all received batches. The so-called “warm box” technology (this term is usually used by PepsiCo specialists) helps to determine the correct sequence: a sample is taken from each lot, placed in a warm container, where conditions are artificially created for the manifestation of mechanical damage and latent forms of infections. Lots, where signs of disease are not detected, are laid for long-term storage. Less successful batches, depending on the degree of the problem, are either sent for short-term storage, or immediately for sale.
Quality control of lots placed for long-term storage should be carried out monthly in the future. This is necessary, since the indicators of product quality for various reasons are gradually deteriorating, and it is important to understand how this process is going on in different batches in order to timely implement a particular lot from the warehouse.
How to properly control the quality of batches?
- Specialists HZPC practice the use of an examination form developed on the basis of the experience of European colleagues. It lists potato diseases that may appear during storage (from the most harmful in descending order, only 19 items). Each lot is subject to inspection, and on the basis of the data received, a decision is made: whether to continue storage. For example, if manifestations of bacterial diseases are noted, then there is practically no chance that the tubers will last until spring.
The category of storage diseases includes, say, phomosis. When storing products in storage, its manifestations are weak, but by the end of storage, phoma rot can be clearly expressed. Another storage disease is silver scab. Its manifestation in a batch is a signal that there were drops in humidity in the warehouse.
Even in ultra-modern storage facilities, not everything can go smoothly, since no one is immune from the manifestation of the "human factor". An example is the episode when, for some reason, the CO level suddenly increased in the warehouse.2, and the person responsible for organizing the storage did not notice this in a timely manner and did not take action. Changes in the gas environment immediately affected the quality of potatoes for processing, when frying them.
Monthly control helps the company to avoid significant losses. In addition, farmers can monitor in dynamics how different varieties behave during storage, and with this in mind, competently plan the assortment of potatoes for the new season.
Does the monthly inspection require a tuber analysis for each batch? - You need to understand what to invest in the concept of tuber analysis. When storing raw materials for processing, tuber analysis is carried out monthly. External defects, the content of reducing sugars and dry matter are determined. When storing table potatoes, monthly analysis must be done for batches intended for washing and dry cleaning in order to determine the visual quality of the tubers. When storing seed potatoes, we carry out tuber analysis according to the GOST 33996-2016 standard when laying for long-term storage and when preparing potatoes for sale.