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Intercropping and greening of furrow dikes in potato production

Protecting the soil places high demands on the potato farmer, because the tuber wants to grow undisturbed and be harvested without damage. This often requires a great deal of soil preparation, which compromises the natural resilience of the soil and increases its vulnerability. Erosion, nutrient and water losses, and consequently reduced soil fertility can be the result.

This is where intercrops come in, as they provide a soil cover between the harvest of the previous crop and the planting of the potatoes and can therefore limit the above-mentioned risk potential. They can also be used specifically for biological plant protection (e.g. nematode trapping).

Which species are suitable - for which location? How are they established, maintained and removed before planting so that they do not become a nuisance? How do I avoid damaging effects of catch crops and drought stress for the following potatoes?

After laying comes another phase in which the soil is very sensitive to erosion, especially by water. Even on gently sloping land, heavier precipitation can cause water to pool in depressions, taking soil with it. Another consequence is also an uneven water supply on the field.

One solution is furrow dikes, which are created when the soil is laid. This allows the water flow to be significantly slowed and kept at the place of precipitation. The furrow dikes are ideally created during laying by heaping bodies that are lowered at regular intervals between the dams, thereby pulling soil material together. When the heaping bodies are lifted up, a furrow dike remains. The principle is similar to the hunger rake, which used to be used to pull grass or straw together into swaths. Optimisation of this effect can be achieved through greening, as additional planting of these "little dikes" provides further protection against water and soil displacement. The seeds are spread between the rows when the potatoes are planted and accumulate there when the furrow dikes are formed.

Which crops are suitable? How is greening established, maintained and removed before lifting so that it does not interfere?

The Special is aimed at exhibitors who produce and sell intercrops and provide technical support for cultivation. Furthermore, manufacturers of machines and equipment for intercropping are called upon to present their technology.

The Special is aimed at all potato growers who are interested in intercropping and greening before and after potato harvesting and who are looking for solutions to grow their potatoes CAP-compliant and still profitably.

Suitable types and varieties of intermediate crops and different varieties of incorporation are shown in trial fields. Furthermore, we show the furrow dikes with and without vegetation. The Society for Conservation Tillage (GKB - Gesellschaft für konservierende Bodenbearbeitung e.V.) supports us as a specialised partner.