Potato Blog: The Dutch potato is Number One

Continuing our blog series from our Northern Europe potato expert Olaf van Campen, sharing his insights to the world of potatoes

It’s almost August and we recently planted our demo field in Emmeloord ready for Potato Europe event from 13-14 September.

The drought has ended in the Netherlands and killing the seed potatoes' haulm has begun. I have visited a lot of potato growers in Europe and abroad in recent weeks. It was a constant reminder that, as small as the Netherlands is (17 million inhabitants), we really are Number One in potato farming, professionally growing 157,000 ha.

In Ukraine (a country 15x as large as the Netherlands with 33 million inhabitants) 65,000 ha potatoes are grown professionally. In addition, 200,000 ha are grown in private gardens! During my visit, I had to give an explanation of potato cultivation in the Netherlands and our products Banjo Forte and Talent at the University of Kiev. Afterwards we organized a field day in the region of Dnipropetrovsk together with HZPC and Grimme. Here there are extensive fields with varieties such as Colomba, Memphis and Red Scarlet. Yields were normal, although it was very dry. Here, they only spray six times against phytophthora per season. Also seen were some new storehouses of Tolsma and Omnivent potatoes; the presence of the Agrico propagation company and much evidence of Dutch expertise and input.

During a visit to a seed potato farm in the NoordOostPolder area of the Netherlands, the superior knowledge of arable farming was also demonstrated by the beautiful crops in the fields (where good yields are being obtained with no tillage). I also saw innovations such as VHM (Van Hees Machinery) and tracks from Zuidberg Technique. For the first time, the grower had retained a portion of his Talent seedlings. This farm was fully automated using Tolsma technology and results from the field were good.

Meanwhile, work is underway to bring the World Potato Congress to the Netherlands in 2021. It would be logical if it could be held in conjunction with Potato Europe in World Potato City, which would create a wonderful opportunity to present the Netherlands as the ‘country of potato knowledge'.

Next week, we will start harvesting the first seed potatoes and I am curious about the yields and quality. We will do everything we can to create a strong basis for 2018, and plan to ship our Dutch seedlings all over the world. Meanwhile, may I wish all potato growers a good harvest!

Olaf van Campen
July 26, 2017

Olaf van Campen is Adama’s Northern Europe Crop Manager for Potatoes and Sugarbeets. He joined Adama six years ago as development specialist in the N-Zone in Europe (Scandinavia and Baltics). Previously, having studied Agricultural Business Mangement, Olaf worked for HZPC, the biggest seed potato company in the world, based in Joure, Netherlands, where he was a sales/logistic representative for consumption potatoes in Europe. He then went on to work in the advisory service Delphy in the Netherlands, giving advice in arable crops like potatoes, sugarbeets, onions, carrots, cereals   

Seed potato farmer visit
Seed potato farmer visit
Potato field day in Ukraine with Grimme and HZPC
Potato field day in Ukraine with Grimme and HZPC
Explaining about Banjo Forte during Ukraine field day
Explaining about Banjo Forte during Ukraine field day