Growers will be asked which precision technology AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm should be trialing at the project’s results day on 28 February.

The project, which is hosted by Bruce Farms in Perthshire, has already begun looking at how to make the most of the precision kit available.

Working with Soil Essentials, the farm has used high resolution satellite images to monitor the crop canopy, as well as using nutrient mapping to plan variable rate liming. They have also carried out soil scanning to make variable rate planting maps.

For farm manager Kerr Howatson one particular success he has had on farm was variable rate planting on salad potatoes.

He says: “We were able to reduce the space between the tubers on the heavier ground and ensure a much more uniform crop, and we saw a huge benefit. I think it shows that tools which improve field planning can be worth the investment.”

At the event next week AHDB Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager Claire Hodge plans to gather feedback from growers on what tools they would like to know more about.

Claire says: “Farmers now have access to a wide range of equipment and data but it’s not always clear which of these can make a real difference to the bottom line.

“We need to find out from growers what technology they think could be most beneficial so we can trial it on the SPot Farm this year.”

Also at the event Dr Mark Stahlam and Dr Marc Allison from NIAB CUF will discuss the results of last season’s trials on seed spacing, cultivations and nutrition.

Previous trials on cultivations and nutrition have shown that growers can cut back on nitrogen, without any loss in marketable yield, and also use shallower cultivation depths and remove bedtilling from the system without any negative effect. In fact doing so has been shown to decrease costs and improve yields.

The final speaker of the day will be Andy Newbold who is working with AHDB to produce an Arable Cultivations Guide. Andy will be asking growers what they currently do in terms of cultivation so he can feed that into the new guidance.

Those interested in attending the Results Day on 28 February can find further information and details on how register by visiting the following link:  https://ahdb.org.uk/events.

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