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Precision potato production focus at SPot Scotland

3 July 2018

Using precision farming for potato production will be under the spotlight at this year’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm Scotland Open Day on Tuesday 10 July.

AHDB’s Strategic Farms are used to drive research in to practice through the demonstration of cutting-edge techniques - appropriate to the region and market sector - in a commercial-scale growing environment.

At the Open Day there will be tours of the all the current trials, including cultivations, nutrition, cover crops, seed spacing and seed sourcing, as well as talks on precision farming from Jim Wilson of Soil Essentials while Mark Stalham from NIAB CUF will cover nutrition.

“This year we are significantly boosting the precision farming at SPot Scotland so see how this technology can be utilised to make commercial advantage.” AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager Claire Hodge explains. “Farmers now have access to a wide range of equipment and data but it’s not clear which of these can make a real difference to the bottom line, which is where we come in.”

Working with Soil Essentials, the farm will collect data from low res satellite imagery which will allow them to compare the SPot fields with potato fields across the country. They will also use higher resolution satellite images to monitor the crop canopy which should allow them to more effectively plan and target the use of nitrogen. The final focus will be irrigation which will be scheduled using a radar which measures soil moisture, soil temperature and water in the crop.

Claire says: “Over the course of the season we will use the data gathered to adapt our management of the potato trials we are running and at the end of the season we will be able to report to growers where we have seen benefits, particular in terms of the cost of the investment.

“Our Open Day on 10 July will give growers the chance to tour the trial site, find out more about our previous results, as well as hearing from our experts about what we are doing and why.”

For further information and details on how register for the SPot Scotland Open Day on 10 July can be found on the AHDB website:  https://potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/events.

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