Potatoes are a “surprise” culture: tubers grow underground, and even a venerable specialist cannot predict the future harvest by the bush - despite the powerful tops, healthy leaves and abundant flowering. The result becomes clear only at the moment of cleaning.
This year the well-known seed company "Solana-Agro-Service" decided to demonstrate this very result to the maximum number of interested persons, postponing its traditional holiday - Day of the Potato Field - a month later than usual.
The 19th meeting of potato growers on Samara land took place not on July 15, as usual, but on August 15. At this time in the Middle Volga already in full swing harvesting suffering.
Another important feature of the event was the participation in its organization of the Samara State Agricultural Academy. Thanks to such cooperation, the scientific component of the event came to the fore: Field Day began with a conference within the walls of an educational institution. However, all the reports were devoted to issues that were extremely important and relevant for practitioners: new varieties, plant protection products, fertilizers, tillage and harvesting equipment.
One of the most detailed and bright was the performance Vladimir Molyanov, General Director of Solana-Agro-Service. Vladimir Dmitriyevich told about achievements (every year the company registers new high-yielding varieties), and about mistakes, warning potato growers from crop losses caused by late blight and alternariosis, and about plans for the near future. He illustrated his report not only with a memorable presentation, but also with a real film about his experience in growing potatoes.
Great interest of the audience was also aroused by the speech of the vice-rector of the State Agricultural Academy (as well as the editor-in-chief of the "Potato System" magazine) Alexey Brumin, dedicated to the "Potato Academy" - a project of an international educational center implemented by the university with the support of "Solana-Agro-Service" and other specialized enterprises.
The shortage of qualified specialists in the industry is felt by all market participants, and in the light of new, increasingly complex tasks facing agriculture, the problem is becoming even more acute. Alexey Zinovievich proposed his own - quite feasible - way of solving it (the editorial staff of the magazine plans to publish a cycle of materials on this topic in the near future).
In parallel with the conference, an agricultural exhibition was held, at which key manufacturers and suppliers of seed material, specialized equipment for planting, processing, irrigation, harvesting and packaging of potatoes, agricultural chemistry presented their new products.
Upon completion of the scientific discussions, the guests of the event were invited to the “Potato Restaurant”, temporarily located in the hall of the Academy of Culture Palace. Here you could try five different varieties of your favorite product and cast your vote for the very best. As a result of the vote, the new variety “Natasha” won by a small margin, which stood out in rich yellow color and harmonious taste.
But Field Day is unthinkable without the field itself, and most of the guests were looking forward to the practical part of the exhibition - with a demonstration of the capabilities of potato technology and the achievements of seed production. The field excursion, as always, turned out to be very entertaining. Its participants could independently assess the yield and consumer qualities of a particular variety by pulling out any bush on the experimental plot. The tubers are white and red, oblong or round ... There was plenty to choose from, and at the same time, it seemed impossible to decide on the best one. Therefore, many took their favorite samples with them - as symbols of the future excellent harvest.
The guests left impressions of the holiday a year in advance.
By the way, in 2015 the company "Solana-Agro-Service" plans to hold its "potato anniversary" - the 20th Day of the Potato Field. The exact date has not yet been determined, although according to preliminary estimates of more than 140 guests from the largest potato regions of Russia, the option "August 15" was highly appreciated.