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The basis of the quality of certified seed is a soil type with a natural fertility. The soil is always perfectly prepared by careful working, balanced dressing with manure and fertilizer, and a well-chosen precultivation.
Only the most suitable fields can be considered for the propagation of seed potatoes:
- the previous history (no potato cultivation for three years before use as a seed potato field)
- the location of the field (adjacent land)
- a comprehensive soil analysis guarantees that the field is free from eels
The safe, secure in vitro technique gives growers the healthiest possible potato plants. They also build in the basic quality while expanding production. In other words: only the best basic material guarantees a top-quality seed potato.
Ensuring the quality of the product by:
- optimum maintenance of the fields
- close observation of plant health
- destruction of all weak or sub-standard plants
- continuous supervision
- regular field controls.
The plants are intensively protected throughout the entire growing season. The various plant-health treatments are integrated and executed with respect for the environment.
Defoliation and harvesting
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in conjunction with various scientific organisations and the trade, decides the time of defoliation and ensures that it takes place efficiently and correctly.
The most commonly used method combines mechanical and chemical defoliation. Government-approved spray devices are used for the purpose.
Flemish growers use the newest generation of potato harvesters. Modern technology makes it possible to reduce damage to the vegetables to a negligible minimum
Storage and sorting
The delivered loads are stored in the best possible conditions:
- storage in thoroughly clean inspected spaces;
- specially adapted ventilation;
- controlled climatic conditions.
The ideal combination of temperature and relative humidity also rules out premature propagation. Sorting and grading occurs under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Packaging and transport
During packaging, the seed potatoes receive a certificate under official supervision.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has also laid down rules for the batch transport of seed potatoes in crates.
40% of total production is sent abroad. The seed trade has the necessary flexibility to accommodate any demand from any client. So it is not surprising that farmers in more and more countries are now discovering the quality, growing strength and reliability of the seed varieties propagated in Belgium.