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Cultivation
 
 

Cultivation

A striking aspect of the Dutch ware potato sector is its high degree of mechanisation.

The absence of rocks in the soil and the flatness of the land make the fields extremely suitable for the operation of planting, lifting and other machines. These machines, together with the healthy Dutch seed potatoes (which are all strictly inspected), the high quality of the soil, the favourable climate and the expertise of the well‑trained growers, ensure high average yields. The ware potato yields are among the highest in the world.

In the Netherlands there are hundreds of so‑called 'growers' study clubs. The members of these clubs meet several times a year to discuss various aspects of the crops they grow. On top of this, the advisers of the trading companies or co‑operatives, to which the growers supply their potatoes, provide technical support throughout the entire growing season. The advisers or supervisors visit the growers regularly during the season and also during harvest and the subsequent storage period.

Weather plays an important part in the prevention and control of the potato disease late blight, which is caused by a fungus. That is why more and more potato growers are getting together to exploit weather stations. These weather stations predict the risk of late blight for periods of 24 hours. On the basis of this information and their own expertise and experience, the growers decide whether or not to use fungicides to protect their crops from this disease, which is greatly feared all over the world. So the weather stations play an important part in the modern, environmentally‑friendly cultivation methods currently used in the Netherlands.