Agricultural enterprises and farmers of the Tambov region have begun harvesting potatoes. This year, “second bread” is present in the crop rotation of 35 commodity producers, who allotted 3 hectares for it. Early ripening potatoes have already migrated from the fields to the storage facilities of farms. Now it's the turn of the mid-season varieties.
From beginner potato growers to experienced ones
According to the operational information of the regional agriculture department, today potatoes have been harvested from more than 360 hectares, which is 10 percent of the area occupied by them. The gross harvest exceeded 8 tons with an average yield of 665 centners per circle. Experts note that while the yield remains at the level of the last year, but as the pace of harvesting increases, and as a result of the cultivated plantations, it will certainly be higher. In this regard, 240 is not much different from the previous agricultural seasons.
Although he still has features. Agrarians cultivating potatoes this time reduced the area for potatoes. It was decided to grow it only where there are irrigation systems. And such an experience fully justified itself this summer, when most of the districts of our region fully experienced the deplorable consequences of the drought, which lasted, depending on the territory, for about a month, and somewhere for two.
“If you only hope for favorable weather and rains, you will not get high yields from this crop. Without irrigation, potatoes will produce a very average return, and even then not every year. Land reclamation allows us to predict crop yields, felling, and to increase the fertility of the land, ”says Yuri Zelenov, head of the Zelenovykh farm from the Kirsanovsky district.
He has been growing potatoes for almost thirty years, so he knows what he's talking about. From year to year, his farm is among the best in the region both in terms of yield and gross yield of tubers; on the basis of peasant farms, seminars are periodically held to exchange experience. Keeping up with the times, and somewhere ahead of it, Yuri Nikolaevich widely uses modern cultivation technologies in the fields, coupled with no less modern technology. And also` high return is the result of a competent varietal policy.
“We started harvesting potatoes in our farm at the beginning of last week. While we are digging, so to speak, "for ourselves" in order to evaluate the quality of tubers, to see how the cultivated varieties behaved this summer, "the farmer explains.
Of the eighty hectares occupied by the "second bread", today only one and a half have been harvested. The gross harvest amounted to 53 tons, and the yield was over 350 centners per hectare, which is much more than the regional average. Potato varieties Gala, Belmondo, Colomba, as well as Rodrigo, which has bright pink tubers, proved to be worthy of this dry summer. However, the main stage of harvesting on the farm is still ahead. Mass harvesting will begin here on September 5 and, as Yury Zelenov assures, “his” potatoes will still have time to surprise everyone with their unprecedented yield. But as always…
Potatoes are different
And in LLC "Agroyuryevo" and LLC "Tambovskie farms" in the Staroyuryevsky district, potato harvesting is in full swing. The technique entered the fields back in the twenties of July, when the early Newton variety began to be dug on the farms. As the deputy chairman of the committee for economics, municipal property management and agriculture of the district administration Alexander Negodyaev informed, to date they have harvested 183 hectares out of 862 sown with potatoes. The yield exceeded 233 centners per circle.
“The main direction of these agricultural enterprises is the production of potato chips. It is grown using irrigation systems, traditionally "in operation" they have at least four profile varieties. Each year, farms acquire about 150 tons of elite seeds, simultaneously using their seeds of the first and second reproduction, ”says Alexander Negodyaev.
Now the farms are harvesting the BP-808 variety of yellow potatoes. The yield is high, similar to last year. But in the future it will hardly be possible to improve it even further, because potato chips, perhaps like no other, must meet the requirements of the standard. According to experts, tubers should be from 30 to 70 millimeters in transverse diameter, those that are larger or smaller are recognized as marriage. Despite its profile, ware potatoes have been cultivated at Agroyuryevo LLC for many years. It covers 100 hectares. It is planned to start cleaning it on September 1. Tambovskie Farmy LLC will soon start digging potatoes of the Dutch Innovator variety, which is widely used for the production of French fries.
According to Alexander Negodyaev, the dry summer still had a detrimental effect on the development of ware potato tubers. In the Staroyuryevsky district, there was no rain for more than a month, but in the spring, long-lasting downpours were almost everywhere, which affected the growing season.
Fighting for a place in the sun
Last year, potato growers in the Tambov region received 130 thousand tons of tubers. In the current agricultural season, perhaps this result will be surpassed due to the skillful use of irrigation systems, competent crop rotation and the choice of varieties. I would like to mention the latter especially. Often, potato farms are directly dependent on contractual obligations. Acting within their strict framework, farms have to grow a specific variety with specific indicators - the one that suits retail chains or processors as much as possible.
The modern market also places strict demands on ware potatoes. The idea of an “ideal” tuber varies depending on the opinion of the client, and this is far from an ordinary consumer, but often a large supplier or holding.
For this reason, many commodity producers still find it difficult to "enter" trade networks. In order to make a profit, despite all the vicissitudes of the weather and the market, agricultural enterprises and farmers deliberately plant at least four varieties of potatoes. True, in most cases they are all imported. This is due to the fact that retail chains are mainly "sharpened" for tubers with specific characteristics, and they dictate the "fashion" for this or that variety, both for agricultural producers and its end consumers, that is, you and me.