From history to the present
Breeding station Velhartice
BEGINNINGS OF ACTIVITIES
It was established in 1957, potato breeding was transferred to the station between 1958 and 1960 from the Breeding Station Borek near Nepomuk. The breeding station Borek near Nepomuk was established in 1952 by the experienced potato breeder Mr. Václav Zimmermann. The station had the task of breeding potatoes for the Pilsen region. Although Mr. Václav Zimmermann worked in very difficult conditions, in a short time he created a very solid basis for potato breeding in Western Bohemia. However, as soon as he discovered the inappropriateness of the location of the station in terms of producing healthy seedlings within a few years, he organized experiments with potatoes in the Šumava foothills in an effort to find a more suitable area for the location of the station. The area around Velhartice proved to be the most suitable in terms of climate and operation.
RELOCATION OF STATION
It was then decided by the state authorities and the Breeding and Seed Company to relocate the breeding station to Velhartice. The territory of Velharticka was agriculturally very specific at that time. There were a large number of small landowners – craftsmen, who acquired these plots during the subdivision of the estate belonging to Velhartice Castle. On average, these small owners farmed 2.1 ha of land, usually in 3-6 different places in the cadastre. In this situation, in 1958, the land was collected and taken over by the breeding station. At first, the station farmed 250 ha of agricultural land. After 1959, it was a total of 350 ha. In 1962, the land fund was further expanded by the neighboring farm of the state estate in Tajanov, and the total area of 460 ha of agricultural land was reached.
From its establishment until the end of 1976, the station belonged to the Lužany Breeding and Seed Company. Thanks to the management of the company and the breeding station at the time, a number of operational buildings needed for the operation of the station were built in a short time, including sensitive adjustments to their surroundings. The adaptation of the barn and stables to potato plants, the construction of heated greenhouses, the construction of a new potato plant, administrative buildings and laboratories, the construction of a facility for livestock production, and the construction of a grain intake took place gradually. Since 1977, the Velhartice breeding station, like other potato breeding stations in the Czech Republic, was delimited to the newly established Potato Research and Breeding Institute in Havlíčková Brod.
After 1989, VŠÚB was first divided into the Potato Research Institute and the Potato Breeding Institute in Havlíčková Brod. Most of the breeding stations belonging to the Potato Breeding Institute were privatized to joint-stock companies in 1992 and were later included in the 2nd wave of coupon privatization. This is how the company Vesa Velhartice, a.s. was also founded in 1992. The basic capital of the company amounts to CZK 26,120,000. The company manages approximately 390 ha of agricultural land leased from private owners and the state. It currently employs 36 workers, including workers in potato breeding, livestock production, canteen, workshops and also in the shop. Every year, the company invests significant sums in the development of potato breeding, equipment for agricultural production and the purchase of agricultural land. Despite the worse soil and climate conditions, Vesa Velhartice is one of the leading agricultural enterprises in the Klatovy district.
The first manager of the breeding station in Velhartice was Jaroslav Herma (1957-1958). Rudolf Findejs, CSc. (1959-1984), from 1985 he was the head of the station and subsequently the director of Vesa Velhartice a.s. Ing. Petr Ruda (1985-1994), since 1995 he has been the director of Ing. Viktor Kopacka.
POTATO BREEDING AND SEEDS PRODUCTION
Since the establishment of the workplace, a number of potato breeders have taken turns in the breeding section, who have significantly contributed to the development of this activity at the station. Without their conscientious and creative work, it would not be possible to achieve current breeding successes. During the existence of the breeding station, over three dozen original Czech varieties of potatoes were bred here. Their quality is confirmed by the interest of Czech and foreign growers. The creation of new varieties is then logically followed by high-quality maintenance breeding. Currently, only completely healthy plants from tissue cultures grown in a technical isolate are used as its basis. The tubers obtained in this way are further propagated in a spatial isolate and subsequently registered in the propagation cycle as super elite (SE). The Velharticka area is one of the healthiest in the Czech Republic in terms of the incidence of viral diseases. The seedling produced in this way is then propagated at the contractual partners. Interest in the cultivation of Vesa Velhartice company varieties is growing not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad, which is evidenced by the increasing breeding area of these varieties.
In the long term, the company focuses not only on wholesale sales to growers in the order of tons, but also on retail packaging weighing 5 and 25 kg for small growers and gardening stores.
VESA Česká Bělá
BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE BREEDING STATION
In 2004, the original breeding station in Česká Běla became a subsidiary. Until 2016, when the ownership of the two stations was again separated, maintenance breeding of Velhartice varieties took place here, and today Vesa Česká Bělá is an important breeder and business partner of the breeding station in Velhartice.
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