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No-Till Potatoes

Discussion in 'Direct Drilling Crops & Agronomy' started by martian, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    By way of an experiment, we've just spent the day sprinkling half an acre with a trial of no-till potatoes. Plastered the land with some well rotted FYM and dropped the seed in rows on top and covered with straw. What could possibly go wrong? Do badgers like potatoes? If so they haven't got far to go to find them. We'll have to keep an eye on the rats too. The barn owls will get fat at least.
  2. RTK Farmer

    RTK Farmer Member

    Cambridgeshire UK
    I think we need a pic or two of that.
  3. Clive

    Clive Staff Member

    interesting ! update with pics please

    Assuming success how do you no till harvest without significant soil movement ?
  4. KennyO

    KennyO Member

  5. What do you want to eat them for? Its worm food!
  6. choochter

    choochter Member

    Is your aim to harvest only the green ones?
  7. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    There's not much to see at the minute, sprayed off cover crop with some heaps of straw. Should be able to harvest just under the surface with a potato harvester should the crop be worth the effort.
    You won't know unless you try, as someone once said.
  8. Dan Powell

    Dan Powell Member

    I had a go a couple of years ago in the garden on a very small scale. Mowed a strip in the lawn, placed potatoes, covered each one with a shovel full of compost and then covered with straw.

    It worked, but the yield was a bit low and there was a lot of slug damage. I put that down to the high slug population in the surrounding grass.

    Definitely worth a go.
    RushesToo and martian like this.
  9. DrWazzock

    DrWazzock Member

    I once thought about dropping them in behind the flat lift legs. Not exactly no till, but a lot less bother than what we do now. Clods at harvest time would be a problem but I think they'd still grow. Surprising how much compaction a potato can stand from what I've seen of self sets in the garden.
    graham99 likes this.
  10. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    I was a bit nervous about being busted under the child labour laws... DSC00886.JPG
    graham99, pine_guy, Robigus and 9 others like this.
  11. Badshot

    Badshot Member

    I like the low ground pressure planters:D
    Steevo, pine_guy, green giant and 4 others like this.
  12. York

    York Member

    thanks for the pictures.
    What I have seen so far is that you need a rely heavy cover. So spreading a round bale I expect that the cover is too little. All trials I have seen where with just rolled out Round bales.
    The potatoes for harvest will not grow below the mother tuber, so the harvest was done by "racking" the potatoes together.
    Don't know why you did have this wide row spacing. Would have used smaller row spacing to get the best soil cover & harvest of solar Energy.
    The biggest challenge are mice, in all similar set ups. You can find quite a number or reports on the internet on this type potato planting.
    I have client, organic, which plant's potatoes in Mulch and when the potatoes are emerging he is harvesting the 1st cutting on clover-gras mix and spreading it on the potato fields. So he get's a thick cover. This is done now by a number of organic farmers and with that they get very good yields. It's a transfer of nutrients, N mostly, and also suppressing weeds.
    Keep sharing pictures. Maybe you invite us for harvest so we will have a good BBQ on the field.
    Niels, RushesToo and Steakeater like this.
  13. Dockers

    Dockers Member

    Martian, you really do need to get a life ! OR do more work !!!!
    martian likes this.
  14. Clive

    Clive Staff Member

    is that bucket and boy fitted with RTK ?
    Fran Loake likes this.
  15. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    Thanks for your notes.
    We piled a fair bit of straw on the rows, not just rolled out bales (though we left one short section just rolled out as an experiment). You can just see some covered rows to the right of the picture. We gave the straw a good soak from the bowser to stop it blowing away, and get everything started.
    I'll alert the Red Kites about the forthcoming mouse bonanza!
  16. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    That was work. I can hardly move today.
    graham99, The Ruminant and RushesToo like this.
  17. The Ruminant

    The Ruminant Member

  18. Dan Powell

    Dan Powell Member

    What's the mulching fabric he's using under the three sisters (beans/corn/pumpkin)? Very effective. I fancy trying that myself. Grew some sweetcorn in the garden last year and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better fresh than shop bought. Yum.
  19. Niels

    Niels Member

    Very very interesting experiment @martian! Will be following this topic with great interest. There was another link on here recently from an Austrian? farmer that did something similar and covered the ridges with grass/clover cuttings.
    Rainmaker likes this.
  20. warksfarmer

    warksfarmer Member

    They will be fine for hand harvest but there would be to many clods for mechanical harvest. Years ago by default there was a small area left in the autumn ........ the following autumn sent the harvester in and there were potatoes but the soil clods were as much as the pots yielded.

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