Potato Seed Production produces top quality potato seed of most open varieties and with permission contracted varieties (varieties with Plant Breeder Rights in SA). High quality, early generation potato seed are produced under the most rigidly controlled conditions and delivered as greenhouse tubers (G0-also referred to as greenhouse or mini tubers) as well as G1, G2, G3, G4 and G5 tubers.
Small quantities of high quality pathogen-free in vitro potato plantlets are obtained on a regular basis from the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa for the further multiplication of plantlets. Plantlets are multiplied under sterile conditions using tissue culture and grown in vitro under a strictly controlled environment. This takes place in growth chambers in our laboratory, which are inspected on a regular basis by an inspector from the South African Seed Potato Services for accreditation.
Our eight greenhouses produce three crops of mini-tubers annually and cold storage facilities provide for year-round availability. As demand is ever increasing, customers are recommended to discuss their requirements with us at least 18 months in advance. Small orders can sometimes be accommodated in 10-12 months, depending on space and plantlet availability.
We can produce any of the open varieties. Today, at Potato Seed Production, these include Van der Plank, Hertha, BP1, Up-to-Date, Mnandi, Amethyst and Buffelspoort. A number of Generation 0 to Generation 5 protected varieties are also produced for clients on a contractual basis – these currently include Fianna, Avalanche, Valor and Divaa.
Potato Seed Production owns the second largest certified greenhouse generation 0 mini-tuber potato production facility in South Africa, producing more than 2,000,000 tubers annually from the company's eight greenhouses.
Access to our climate-controlled and insect-proof greenhouses are strictly monitored to ensure that no infestation of plant material occurs. All growing media are sterilised before the commencement of planting. Generation 0 mini-tubers have a zero tolerance of all relevant potato pathogens and viruses. They require regular inspections by a certification official of the South African Potato Certification Services at various stages. This is done during the production cycle and finally testing of the tubers and/or leave samples for all the relevant viruses and bacteria before certification. Borehole water used in the greenhouses is chlorinated to eliminate bacterial infection and is never recycled.
Greenhouse production continues throughout the year and generation 0 mini-tubers produced in the greenhouses are all of superb quality with sizes between 4 and 200 grams. We are able to supply mini-tubers all year round and cater for all production areas and seasons.
The combination of an elevated altitude and a remote location protected by legislation is ideal for field production of early generation potatoes and thus minimizes the risk of virus infection. The harsh winter micro-climate found on the Drakensberg mountain means that only one field planting is possible per year, thereby ensuring optimal growing conditions. The field production is on a dry land basis planted in very rocky contours. Tubers from PSP’s greenhouses are used to establish a Generation 1 seed crop and the yield is multiplied further through the production of Generation 2, Generation 3, Generation 4 and Generation 5 planting materials.
Field planting commences in August/September where we plant between 55 000 and 60 000 tubers per hectare and the crop is harvested from January onwards. Our yields are quite low compared to other growers, but we strive to supply only seed of sizes between 220 and 600 count per 25kg bag. A stringent pest and disease control program is followed in these field productions, to prevent any insect and pathogen infection. Regular and very strict inspections are conducted by Potato Certification Services. Pending the outcome of virus and bacterial wilt tests, crops are harvested, crated and stored in one of our sorting depot facilities. The seed is then sorted, graded and certified. At this stage the client can ship their seed to their own location, or by prior arrangement, store it in our cold room facilities on our own premises where we can store around 30 000 bags of seed.
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