Ontario Agriculture

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Tips To Lowering Bruise Rates – It’s A Full Season Process

Before Planting

• Select fields that are best suited for growing potatoes and are free from excessive rocks.  Investigate the soil conditioning technics presently adopted throughout Europe, if unavoidable.

• Avoid tillage practices that create clods that will not break down during the growing season.  Rotary tillage methods prevent clods in clod prone soils.

 

During the Growing Season

• Use a balanced fertility program to keep vines green until shortly before top-kill.

 

Pre-harvest Preparation

• Train all harvest personnel about bruise prevention.

• Install padded chains on harvesting and handling equipment, and replace when worn.

• Adjust harvester chain conveyor speed in relation to ground speed to maintain a full, uniform flow of potatoes on each conveyor.

• Install padding on the harvester at points where potatoes may be bruised.

• Adjust digger blade height on harvesters and windrowers so potatoes do not bump into the front of the primary chain.

 

Top-Killing

• Kill the vines fourteen to twenty-one days before harvest to allow the skins to properly mature.

• Use mechanical toppers for stubborn – hard to kill vines.

• Apply a pre-harvest irrigation at least one week before digging to soften clods and rehydrate tubers.

 

Harvesting

• Harvest potatoes only when tuber pulp temperatures are 8°C to 20°C (45°F to 65°F).

• Keep drops to a minimum, adjust web transfers for optimal drop level.

• Avoid using web shakers to separate soil and clods on windrower & harvester.

• Check potato touched areas within harvester and ensure all controllable bruise points are changed (hex bolt heads to round head bolts, exposed guard edges etc.)

• Keep harvester boom close to the pile on the truck.

• Do not walk on potatoes while putting on the tarp.

 

At the Storage

• Pile potatoes in a stair-step manner to prevent roll down on the pile face.

• Keep drops to a minimum.

• Maintain high humidity in storage unless drying is required to control rot problems such as late blight

or water rot.

 

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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. www.northernequipment.ca or sales@northernequipment.ca

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Comment by Iain Robson on December 21, 2012 at 5:30am

That makes perfect sense. I am not sure how my in-laws do it. I think they use herbicide primarily, but I will definitely ask them about something like the GKB.

Comment by Paul Smith on December 20, 2012 at 10:01pm

The secret with it is to be proactive and work the soil before roots have set for the weeds

Comment by Iain Robson on December 20, 2012 at 5:22pm

I just realized that I talked to you on twitter as well. That is too funny. 

Nice videos on the channel. I checked them out. 

I wonder how that GKB would work in weedier areas.

Comment by Paul Smith on December 20, 2012 at 4:00pm

You mechanically weed the soil by disturbing the side of the seed hills just after emergance of the plant but before closure of the canopy, I have a video of a Baselier GKB mechanical weeder on my youtube page www.youtube.com/ontpotatoequip, along with a few other pretty cool potato equipment videos I think you may like

 

Seeing how this is done is easy then trying to explain it

Comment by Iain Robson on December 20, 2012 at 5:13am

I understand chemical control of weeds, but how would you control weeds mechanically without harming the potatoes in this case?

Comment by Paul Smith on December 19, 2012 at 8:59pm

I would suggest a good weed control program either chemical or mechanical.  By reducing the competition for nutrients from the weeds, quality and yield will improve as well as profits.  Topping would only ease issues during harvest, which to me would be too late.

Grimme Single row harvesters dont like weeds and that would make harvest very difficult, if the weeds can be controlled it would help out many things.

Comment by Iain Robson on December 19, 2012 at 5:41am

I shall mention topping to my in-laws and see what they have to say about it.

Here are some facts about their farm:

  • 200 acre farm 25 of which are potatoes
  • they have many weeds in their fields
  • they have a sprayer that attaches to the back of a tractor
  • they have a grimi single row harvester

Now that you have a bit more information, what are your thoughts on them using topping?

Comment by Paul Smith on December 18, 2012 at 4:29pm

Topping can always be an option, its just a matter of economics, as to if it is the correct solution for them.  Items like farm size, harvest method, type of harvester, wether they have their own sprayer all come into effect, so it is a difficult question to answer without full details of the operation

Comment by Iain Robson on December 18, 2012 at 5:28am

Interesting. My in-laws don't harvest them green then. They usually do it around Thanksgiving. However, they sell their potatoes to the market. Would topping still be an option for them?

Comment by Paul Smith on December 17, 2012 at 8:35pm

Baselier is by far the best topper available, which originates in Europe.  They are the only ones who have dynamically balanced shafts and are more robust then others on the market.

Toppers are fairly cheap compared to the cost per acre of Reglone if multiple passes are needed for vine kill

Harvesting green is primarily used for very early market potatoes and for whats called field fry process potatoes which is direct from field frying potatoes.  These potatoes are usually harvested before the full the tops can be properly killed off, thats why the call it harvesting them green.

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