In order to produce potatoes with defined quality characteristics at certain points in time with good skin firmness to be easily transportable and storable, it is necessary to artificially induce the skin maturation process.
Because mechanical methods (haulm topping) were costly and could also lead to quality losses, this was done for a long time with the desiccant Diquat (Reglone). This was banned in Europe in 2019 for toxicity reasons for the user and bystanders almost without public perception.
Similarly effective and economically usable chemical substitutes are not available and the combination of mechanical and thermal methods is economically and energetically very problematic. The use of pelargonic acid is possible but requires high quantities and is only effective in the first desiccation
step to open the leaf canopy.
The use of electrophysical methods alone has proved feasible in experiments (2018/2019 LWK NRW), but the working widths and energy requirements are unsatisfactory.
With the additional expected elimination of carfentrazone-ethyl (e.g. Shark) and pyraflufen (e.g. Quickdown), potato growers could be left almost without chemical options in a few years’ time. Innovative solutions are urgently needed here, as potato siccation has become an essential component of the potato economy and has also been taken into account in the type of bred and cultivated potato varieties.
The aim of the crop.zone technology is to reduce the specific energy consumption in potato siccation by directly combining chemical and electrophysical methods to such an extent that high-quality potatoes can be produced even with high working widths and good area output. At the same time, by reducing
the tensions introduced, the harvested crop should also be better protected, even under difficult soil conditions and high plant stress. To this end, the multi-stage and complex process of potato desiccation will be completely rethought and translated into appropriate technical solutions, which the potato industry urgently needs.
crop.zone is already intensively testing the electric hybrid concept for potato rock formation in 2020.
Partially in cooperation with the Landwirtschaftskammer Rheinland (LWK), crop.zone is investigating on various soil types with which optimised operating parameters crop.zone can make high-quality potatoes peel-proof through siccation even without Reglone and possibly even in organic quality.