PotatoEurope 2019: mostly dry weather, lots of interest and plenty of novelties

Even though there were a few millime-tres of rain during part of the afternoon, dust clouds dominated the harvesting fields in the Belgian village of Kain.

Even though there were a few millime-tres of rain during part of the afternoon, dust clouds dominated the harvesting fields in the Belgian village of Kain. In any case, the harvesting conditions were dry to very dry. Normally, a potato grower would wait until there had been a bit of rain before harvesting, but this is a showground, so the digging units are simply sent off into the fields. What’s also striking is that the haulm is still pretty green here. So, has Reglone already been banned here and the alter-natives are not yet available? According to the organisation, this is to illustrate that green harvesting after 2019 is also one of the options. It’s definitely an option, but often requires certain adjust-ments such as slow driving, low-speed sieve belts and rollers, and good bar cov-ers. Modern harvesters, large and small such as those present on the trial fields, should be able to handle it all perfectly. However, most harvester drivers don’t seem to know about slow driving and lower belt speeds or have had different instructions. ‘Gas and go’ is often the motto. As a result there is lots of green haulm as tare, many tubers are left behind in the field, and half to almost completely-skinned potatoes are what finally leave the demonstration fields. Again with a lot of blockages in the transfer lines as a result. All in all, it’s clearly not a good example of progres-sive European techniques that the entire international potato world is watching. Fortunately, the rest of the showground was quite exemplary, with easily-accessi-ble stands, plenty of novelties, and inter-esting presentations.

 

Leo Hanse and Jaap Delleman

 

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