Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, Switzerland

Variety and cultivation trials with winterhardy poppy

Poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) is a traditional field crop of Switzerland. During the Second World War, it was still grown on around 1300 ha with a view to the country becoming self-sufficient in cooking oil. Today, poppy is only grown in Switzerland on a few hectares. With the entry into force of the 2014–2017 agricultural policy, however, the cultivation of poppy is now supported by the oilseed production payment (CHF 700/ha). In addition to comparing the low-morphine, winter-hardy varieties «Zeno», «Zeno Morphex», «Zeno 2002» and «Josef», Agroscope has studied also the effects of various sowing techniques and seed quantities on yield with the variety «Zeno 2002». The study shows that winter poppy can also be grown in Switzerland, and that attractive yields of around 15 dt/ha can be achieved under good conditions. A key factor for successful cultivation is the creation of favourable conditions for a regular and rapid emergence. Different sowing techniques and seed quantities are suitable for this, depending on site and weather conditions, nutrient availability and weed pressure. Rolling the soil before sowing is urgently recommended. Whether the subsidies provided under the 2014–2017 agricultural policy will wake the poppy from its current slumber, only the future will tell.

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