Since the beginning of September, the farm of Agrar AG Ostrau has been taking the tubers out of the ground. But the harvest is starting very slowly.
Ostrau. Dominic from the third class is sure. The potatoes are taken out of the ground with a grave fork or a hoe. He’s seen that before. But the farm of Ostrauer Agrar AG Ostrau cannot implement this variant of the potato harvest on its huge areas.
In a field near Auerschütz, a potato harvester pulls its tracks. It is powerful, because the soil is very dry. Next to the potato harvester drives a tractor. The harvested potatoes are loaded on to its trailer using a conveyor belt. First, the roder bunkers four to five tons before they come to the trailer.
View from the potato harvester
He then brings the potatoes to the hall at the site in Wutzschwitz. The driver of the roder, Michael Stiller, explains to the third graders how the machine works. The children are thrilled when they are allowed to get on the vehicle and look at it from above.
Valerie and Jasmin have already learned a lot about potatoes and their cultivation in class, but they haven’t been in a field yet. What is new to them is the way the potatoes are harvested.
They are a little smaller this year. Because the water was missing during the growing period. “The quality is right for this,” says Winfried Hunold. As a former head of the potato department at the Landhof, he knows his way around. That is why the pensioner is back in service during the time of application and harvesting.
Prices for potatoes are crucial
Hunold expects earnings to be slightly better this year than last year. “Whether the harvest was good or bad, we can’t say until all the potatoes are out of the earth. Ultimately, the price we get is crucial,” says Winfried Hunold.
And this could be slightly lower this year because it has rained more in the main growing areas, and therefore the yield is higher. If there are more potatoes on the market, the price that farmers receive will fall.
At the beginning of September, the potato harvest began in the fields in the region. However, the Ostrauer try to delay the harvest a little because of the high temperatures. You start with the grubinting in the early morning hours and stop at noon.
“If the outside temperatures are 32 degrees, then it is 45 degrees in the dams. The potatoes are just as warm,” says Hunold. Too much energy would be needed to cool the potatoes down to a storage temperature. That is four to six degrees in November.
Bulb in three categories
This is important so that the potatoes do not germinate, because the use of germ inhibitors is prohibited. “We want to harvest the potatoes as late as possible. However, since we don’t know what the weather is like in October, we started to grub up,” says Hunold.
He expects the harvest of the potatoes to be completed around October 10. Potatoes are divided into three different categories, depending on the starch content: solid-boiling, mainly solid-boiling and floury boiling.
The more starch a potato contains, the looser it becomes when cooking. Floury potatoes are therefore drier and softer than the solid-boiling version. It is cut-resistant and juicy and has a firm bite as well as a fine structure.
At Agrar AG, the floury varieties Gunda and Afra, the predominantly solid-boiling gala and the red-shelled Laura as well as the solid-boiling Anuschka are produced. Last year, the company cultivated the new floury variety Nixe.
These varieties are also offered in different packaging sizes in the hall in Wutzschwitz for customers. There are also fodder potatoes. The third-graders look at the path that the potatoes take from the tractor trailer into the packaging.
No quark at the end of the field day
First, the tubers enter the acceptance tray. From there, they are transported on conveyor belts to the storage hall and then packed into bags. It all runs automatically.
Valerie and Jasmin are impressed. Valerie and Jasmin are impressed. They learned a lot about the potatoes and their harvest from Landhof employee Peggy Ruhnold and Wolfram Hirsch during the field day.
If there was no corona, the students could still taste the potatoes with quark or liver sausage. But it is not possible at the moment.
The Ostrauer market their potatoes in the farm shop, supplying dealers and various markets in the region. Much of the harvest goes to the potato warehouse in Falkenhain, which in turn delivers to large traders.
This year’s potato festival in Ostrava offers
For the potato festival on Saturday, guests can taste potatoes at two stalls of the Agrar AG Ostrau. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the various potato varieties are traditionally quarked. Winfried Hunold also offers two Thai dishes with potatoes.
If you want to buy potatoes, you have the opportunity to do so at the entrance of the car park. The organic nursery also offers fruit and vegetables on the market. There are products of the Laaser butchery, Flowers and household goods.