Organic potato cultivation, especially with regard to mechanical weed control and maintaining the health of haulm and stalks, is a challenge for arable farmers, but those who master the risks can achieve good economic results. In 2016 altogether 124,000 tonnes of organic potatoes were marketed in Germany, 17 per cent of which had to be imported because there was not enough German produce.
At the Special “Organic Potatoes Meeting Point” around 20 exhibitors will be providing information about organic potato cropping. In the central Organic Pavilion, Stand GA 46, and on the surrounding field area they will be presenting machines, farm inputs, services and results of scientific research, as well as marketing channels. On both days of the event experts will have their say in brief interviews.
Advisory services – the most important step
Farmers who are interested in organic cultivation can obtain advice about the opportunities and risks of converting to this farming method in the Organic Pavilion. The first port of call here is the Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen / Organic Farming Competence Center Lower Saxony (KÖN), Stand No. 1. The organic cultivation associations Bioland, Demeter and Naturland together with the Organic Potato Producers Association and the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture will be offering professional advisory services on special issues connected with organic potato cultivation.
Marketing – First obtain a clear picture, then change over
The buyers of organic potatoes are also represented in the Organic Pavilion. The “Erzeugergemeinschaft Bio-Kartoffel Nord” (Producer Association Organic Potatoes North) markets both fresh market produce and sorted potatoes. “Ökokontor” is Germany’s largest organic potato purchaser and will be presenting new packagings on its stand. The Marketing Society of the Naturland Farmers will be providing information about their acceptance criteria and perspectives.
Research – New breeds and strategies
New potato breeds that are not sensitive to late blight will be shown by the Bavarian State Institute in the Organic Pavilion. This breed is based on resistant wild potatoes. A project being addressed by KÖN focuses on how compost from the composting plant acts in organic potato cultivation. KÖN will present the project results in the Organic Pavilion. The Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (Dresden University of Applied Sciences) is working on organic methods for supplying nitrogen to organic potatoes and measures against Rhizoctonia. The targeted cultivation of catch crops plays a major role here. The Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture will be showing organic potatoes from its state variety trials.
Machinery – Targeted weed reduction
Weed control is an important measure in organic potato cultivation. It aims to achieve good results and protect the potato plant. In the open air space by the Organic Pavilion, Messrs. Treffler will be presenting harrows and hoes on Stand No. GA 51. On Stand No. GA 58 the firm Maschinenfabrik Schmotzer will be showing a combination hoeing machine that hoes the bottom of the furrow and the ridge walls in a single work operation and brings the hoed earth back into a ridge form. On Stand No. GA 55 Messrs. Reichhardt Steuerungstechnik will be providing information about how machines can be retrofitted with ultrasonic technology. They will be showing a steering system for mounted implements equipped with precision technology for creating ridges and for blind hoeing with precision down to the last centimetre. The machines will be shown in operation on a neighbouring plot.
Farm inputs – Strengthening plants, combating pathogens
In organic potato cropping the control of harmful insects and fungal pathogens represents a challenge. One strategy aims to strengthen the plants. On Stand No. GA 30, Messrs. Biofa are presenting a wetting agent that makes it possible to combat Phytophthora using dew as well. With the aid of the fungus Metarhizium, it is possible to actively combat the wireworm. Biocare will be showing the currently only authorised method on Stand No. GA 33. Soil additives and plant additives as well as physical methods for activating biological processes will be presented by Messrs. Plocher on Stand No. GA 39. Messrs. Intrachem Bio Deutschland use Trichoderma varieties to strengthen potatoes. They will provide information about this on Stand No. GA 36. Beckmann & Brehm will be showing fertilizers and soil improvement agents made from plant and animal raw materials on Stand No. GA 48.
Machinery and farm inputs – Open air space, Organic Potatoes Meeting Point
• APV - Technische Produkte GmbH, Standnr. GA 62
• Beckmann & Brehm, Stand No. GA 48
• Biocare, Stand No. GA 33
• Biofa, Stand No. GA 30
• Intrachem Bio Deutschland, Stand No. GA 36
• Maschinenfabrik Schmontzer, Stand No. GA 58
• PLOCHER integral-technik Stand No. GA 39
• Reichhardt Steuerungstechnik, Stand No. GA 55
• Treffler Maschinenbau, Stand No. GA 51
Advisory services, research, marketing – Organic Pavilion Organic Potatoes Meeting Point
• Bavarian State Institute, Institute for Plant Breeding, Stand No. 6
• Bio Kartoffel Nord (Organic Potatoes North), Stand No. 2
• Bio Kartoffel Erzeuger e.V. (Association of Organic Potato Producers), Stand No. 11
• Bioland, Stand No. 3
• Demeter, Stand No. 8
• Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (Dresden University of Applied Sciences), Stand No. 7
• Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen (Organic Farming Competence Center Lower Saxony) (KÖN), Stand Nos. 1 and 10
• Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture), Stand No. 5
• Marktgesellschaft der Naturlandbauern (Marketing Society of the Naturland Farmers), Stand No. 12
• Naturland Beratung (Advisory Services), Stand No. 13
• Ökokontor, Stand No. 4
The Organic Potatoes Meeting Point is being organised by the Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen (KÖN).