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LOCKWOOD 600 Series Harvester

Are you making these harvest mistakes? Why your blade matters

No matter how high-tech potato harvesters and windrowers become, they’ll always depend on one seemingly low-tech component — the digging blade. But, don’t make the mistake of brushing off the blade as unimportant. In fact, your blade really does make the machine. There are six blade types available, each designed for specific harvest conditions. In sandy, light soils, opt for a semi-point blade, which can include an optional plastic rock guard fitted…

Potato plants growing in a field

Air-Cup seeders offer front-of-season savings and end-of-season premiums

Considering a new or new-to-you potato planter? Here’s the pros and cons for the most common styles available today: Pick Planters The oldest form of potato planting technology is pick-based planting. Pick planters operate by stabbing potato seed and then dropping it into the trench. While spacing is based off the size of the pick wheel, at times, it may not be as accurate as newer styles of planters. The trick with…

606 S-Series Air Cup

Successful Farmers Know “An Ounce of Prevention…”

Functional, well-maintained equipment can make the difference between farming success and enormously costly misses, breakdowns and losses. In the more than 35 years I’ve spent in the equipment business, I’ve found most farmers do a decent job of prepping their planters, harvesters and other equipment for winter storage, and of greasing, tuning and maintaining their machines prior to use the next season. However, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. I’ve…

Want More Productivity for Less Cost? Get Mobile

As farmers know better than most, necessity really is the mother of invention. For years, farmers have jimmy-rigged and retrofitted mobility onto non-mobile potato cleaning equipment, both to share equipment between yards and to clean tubers in-field to reduce the cost of transporting tare. The downside of moving machines that aren’t built to move is that parts get beat up and worn out in the process, reducing equipment’s functional lifespan. Now, companies…

Is Transporting Tare Picking your Pocket?

Ask any potato producer where rocks belong and they’ll vehemently tell you: “Not in my field.” While that’s true, they also don’t belong in your yard. Since the very first harvesters dug their way through potato fields some decades ago, farmers have been transporting rocks, dirt and harvest debris back to their storage yards, then either leaving this tare in piles in the yard or driving it back out to the fields….

Show Your Harvester Some Love

It’s been a tough harvest for many North American potato farmers. In my neck of the woods (northern North Dakota), August’s drought turned into rain that wouldn’t quit through September and then unseasonably frigid temperatures and deep snow just as harvest was ready to get rolling in October. Conditions have been changeable and challenging from Alberta through Manitoba, and Washington through Wisconsin. Difficult harvest conditions aren’t only hard on farmers; they’re hard…

Spud Cleaning 101

Prepping your potatoes for storage depends on smart harvesting and effective cleaning. Everyone knows digging too warm, too cold and too wet are all bad news for long-term storage, as is allowing your tubers to drop and bruise during harvest. However, putting your potatoes into storage in less than clean condition is just as costly in the long run. New cleaning options exist. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to…

From Potato Spinners to Touchscreens

With the technology available today, it’s hard to imagine that potato harvesting has ever been anything but efficient. But consider this: humans have cultivated potatoes for about 10,000 years; automated harvest technologies have only developed over the past 150-ish years. That means all our automation has been squeezed into just 1.5 per cent of our relationship with potatoes. But what good use we’ve made of that time! The first major harvest automation…

10 Quick Ways to Protect Your Investment

There’s nothing worse than seeing the crop you’ve invested all season growing get bruised, nicked or otherwise compromised during harvest. The good news is most handling damage is avoidable. Here are my top tips to ensure your crop comes through harvest in the best possible condition. From ground-opening right through until the potatoes are safely stored or shipped, equipment should be optimized to agitate/bounce/drop/roll tubers the minimum necessary (ie: the minimum amount…

So, You Think You’re Up On Today’s Harvest Technology?

If you’ve been in the potato business for any time at all, you probably have an excellent understanding of your own harvesting equipment. However, because growers are often only familiar with what they themselves use, you may not realize how many money- and effort-saving options now exist in harvesting technology. Today’s spade blades come in multiple options (clod, semi-clod, combo, etc.). It goes without saying that the right choice depends on harvest…

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