Ontario Agriculture

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How to Maximize Potato Planting Stands and Yields

Numerous studies have shown that an average potato field, contains 7% missing or misplaced seed placement causing a total loose of production.  These errors are more commonly referred to as misses and doubles.  This is just the in-row misplacements of skips and doubles, not the row to row errors that are present within the fields from guess row areas.  Guess rows can be corrected easily with the addition of assisted GPS steering systems.

What does this mean to you, would you be willing to knowingly throw away $250 per acre in unused inputs?  Would you be willing to lose the potential revenue of your lost crop on top of the wasted inputs? 

How can these loses be corrected?

  1. Proper seed cutting - Is the start of your planting process and too many is the most neglected.  Since cut seed size greatly affects planter performance, plant vigor and end yield of your crop, many potato operations need to spend much more attention on their seed cutting and ensuring their seed cutter in the correct type for the variety and is set-up correctly.
  2. Planter performance and set-up –Whether it’s a cup planter or pick type planter proper performance and upkeep, will ensure that your planter is not causing unforeseen inaccuracies.  Ensure ever pick or cup is fully operational.  Damaged picks or their release mechanism or damaged or weak cups can also cause misses and doubles greatly reducing accuracy.
  3. Planting Operational Speed – There is a direct link between the speed at which the planter is operated at and the accuracy of the in-row tuber to tuber spacing.  Studies show speeds of more then 3 mph, greatly affect the spacing because of varying movement once the seed piece hits the moving ground under the seed unit.

Missing plants, blind and rotten seedpieces, and irregular in-row spacing are costly to Canada’s potato growers; and presumably, to all potato growers. Growers lose money because these stand-establishment issues typically change tuber size profile and reduce yield. Planter skips alone are costing potato growers as much as 11.1% of their seedcost-adjusted gross income.

To ensure you are not leaving money in the field I suggest, you have your equipment maintained correctly, and set-up properly.  If you are in doubt I suggest you have a professional set-up and maintain your planting and seed equipment if you are unsure of how to properly set it up.


Paul Smith is the owner of Northern Equipment Solutions and based in Central Ontario, Canada. Providing Quality Potato Equipment, Precision Agriculture and Other Advanced Equipment, Northern Equipment Solutions ensures that your profits and yields are maximized. You can follow the author on twitter @ www.twitter.com/ONTPotatoTech orwww.northernequipment.ca or sales@northernequipment.ca

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