Stage ervaringen Maximilian Mayer

Naam: Maximilian Mayer
Woonplaats:  Lower Austria
Stageperiode:  End of July to end of September 2017
Soort stage:  Compulsory internship
School: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Since I don’t see my compulsory internship as an annoying duty, but as a great opportunity, I was looking for an innovative farm abroad, which I found in Van den Borne. Both of the farms focuses, precision farming and growing potatoes suited my interests and I´m sure I will apply the knowledge I gained at my family´s farm at home.

Right from to start I was introduced to my main task during the growing season: analysing and measuring several traits of the potato plants. To do that, I did a lot of probing rounds on the fields with Jacob. For the first step to collect the data I just needed one simple tool: a pitchfork. With that I took a sample of tubers from several plants to analyse and calibrate at the farm. Furthermore, we measured and weighed the leafs of the plants. But, of course, we also used more advanced technology to gather data. We took the handheld Dualex sensor to the probing rounds, which measures the chlorophyll, flavonoids and the nitrogen balance index of the leafs. In addition, I analysed the leaf juice concerning the NO3, which is crucial for the timing of precision fertilisation.
Apart from that I spent almost an entire week conducting soil scans concerning the electric conductivity. This is one of the best ways to find out different zones in your field on which you can base variable cultivation of your crops.
To handle the enormous workload during the main harvest, I helped out doing several tasks. First of all, I was driving the trailer to transport potatoes, as many others did as well. For the products that were immediately sold to the factory, I supplied the washing installation using the wheel loader. Lastly, I managed the store loaders when we finally started to store the harvest.

Looking back at my traineeship, I gained valuable insights not only in potato cultivation, but also in precision agriculture. I would like to thank the family Van den Borne and their staff for providing a good place to work and live. Special thanks go to Jacob, who was very enthusiastic to share his knowledge and experience during the countless hours of the probing rounds.


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