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Daniel Kottmann on the Swiss potato season:

"Potatoes are also not resistant to erosion, extreme drought, or increasing pest pressure"

Last year's Swiss potato yields were quite disappointing, and this year there was a shortage of seed potatoes. Nevertheless, "the procurement of seed potatoes went pretty well for me," says Daniel Kottmann of Kottmann Kartoffeln from Switzerland. He grows various types of potatoes on his farm, including early potatoes, seed potatoes, and table potatoes. "I had to accept a different caliber for one variety, and part of it was delivered later. But otherwise, there were no difficulties. Since I source seed potatoes from various channels, the risk was somewhat spread out. Currently, I still have last season's potatoes in stock, but not of all varieties," he continues.

Looking back, he is still satisfied with the last year. "In terms of table potato production, our harvest was even outstanding, which of course helped us a lot. This allowed us to cover the shortfall in seed potato production. The good weather in the second half of the year meant that we could harvest a lot of table potatoes. Had that not been the case, it could have been a bad, not cost-covering year. That would naturally have been a disaster over several years," he emphasizes.

High demand for Swiss early potatoes
"The cultivation area has not changed much in the last few years - both on my farm and in our region. Potato cultivation accounts for about 30-40 percent of my operation. Besides, I also have dairy farming, sows with boars, and laying hens. But potatoes are my 'favorite' branch of the business. I want to focus strongly on this in the future." Therefore, no other crops are currently planned.

For early potatoes, Kottmann relies on Agata for direct sales. "I estimate the demand for Swiss early potatoes to be high. Consequently, the price is also higher than usual. Since I produce early potatoes on a smaller scale, I cannot say exactly how financially rewarding it is. But for me, it's great when I can offer 'new' potatoes by mid/end of June and my customers don't have to wait until autumn."

"Cultivating potatoes will not become easier, with the extreme weather conditions," he notes. "Fortunately, the potato is a robust plant that can withstand a lot. But against washouts, extreme drought, or increasing pest pressure, even the potato cannot stand. The ever-shortening list of plant protection products further complicates the work."

"I like to try out new varieties and methods, trying to optimize cultivation for the future, different soil management, robust varieties, etc.," Kottmann reports. "I am convinced that the potato is a great product. It is versatile, storable, and tastes great in all variations. That's why I give everything to continue producing the best potatoes in the future. And I always try to motivate other farmers to grow potatoes as well."

Regarding his sales, he adds: "I personally sell about 100 tons of table potatoes, meaning in farm shops and Landi retail stores. The rest - about 300/400 tons - go to a storage facility (Terralog), where they are then stored, washed, sorted, and packaged. From there, they come back to my region to the Migros stores. It then becomes a product of the region, for the region," concludes Kottmann.

Images: Kottmann Potatoes

For more information:
Daniel Kottmann
Kottmann Potatoes
Maihusen 4
CH 6215 Berom√ľnster
Tel.: 079/372'85'97
[email protected]