No-Till Potatoes

Foxcover

Member
ctf is very useful and an important part of our system here but in some of these situation (potatoes and beet) I cannot for the life of me see what difference it is ever going to make, most of those machine are so huge with wide tyres they drive on the whole field surface area anyway! great way to spend a shed load of cash IMO

Exactly. Clive always said that rootcrops and ploughing don’t fit into CTF and I agree, I actually laughed when I saw a recent article in Profi about ctf on a particular large enterprise in this country then an article in another about said farms 6m powerharrow potato planter.
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
Some snaps of this year's crop. In no particular order...sweet corn (tough as Type 1 MOT, think we drilled wrong seed), a gourd and the strip till drill in action. It's only really a demo plot, but you can see most of straw has now disappeared.

Due to awkwardness of plot size etc and fecklessness of farmer, this has had no fertiliser or sprays (beyond any seedbed fert George may have added). It is a little weedy, but mulch has done a pretty good job overall. Roundup pre-drilling would have been sensible.
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ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Exactly. Clive always said that rootcrops and ploughing don’t fit into CTF and I agree, I actually laughed when I saw a recent article in Profi about ctf on a particular large enterprise in this country then an article in another about said farms 6m powerharrow potato planter.
Havnt seen the article but I know what you’re talking about. There is no soil structure to look after with potatoes so it really is just a spending exercise. Money better spent investing srip till or no till vet.
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
Thanks @martian . I thought (incorrectly) you were growing a mixture of squash and corn. What's happening in the photo of the drill - is he standing on it to get it to dig in better?
Not sure tbh. It was early June and very dry here, but under the straw there was some nice moisture...it wouldn't have needed the extra weight to penetrate
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
@martian - what are you doing with the corn and squash? Is it sweetcorn for corn-on-the-cob, or maize for fodder?
Corn is inedible as we planted wrong sort, squash will be eaten. There isn't that much, it's only a demo plot.

But I have had a buyer get in touch who is after some no-till spuds for chipping...has anyone else grown no-till spuds this year? There is a premium market developing! Just need to mechanise the job a bit, am too old for hand lifting...
 

Ruston3w

Member
Location
south suffolk
Re harvesting, I can't remember the maker (yet) of the air separator harvester shown at a potato demo on Strawston land in Notts, early 90's? Maybe Dewulf? I think it had a rotating disc lifter so would have only had to undercut the tubers part-buried. Lots of noise and dust from the big separator fan,even less fun picking out on there than usual.

Richard.
 

n.w

Member
Location
western isles
Just seen this thread. I planted potatoes through a black plastic mulch i had put down to suppress weeds, simply pushed a fence stob through the plastic and stuck in the seed pot, harvesting involved a rummage around, yields were quite good. I later pushed willow cuttings into the same hole..
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
We didn't plant a plot this year, what with one thing and another (particularly no Groundswell), but we did stick some Pink Fir Apple potatoes on compost in the veg patch and covered it with a thick layer of rye straw. We planted them a bit late (in the hot,dry spell of early lockdown) so gave them a good soaking to stabilise the straw and left them be. They are just right for harvesting now. Interestingly, they are a bit harder to harvest (compared to the field experiments, where the crop was spread out nicely on the soil surface) as some are tangled up in the straw and others have burrowed into the ground, as the soil is much softer than our arable land. A warning for anyone thinking of trying this on fen land...
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
We didn't plant a plot this year, what with one thing and another (particularly no Groundswell), but we did stick some Pink Fir Apple potatoes on compost in the veg patch and covered it with a thick layer of rye straw. We planted them a bit late (in the hot,dry spell of early lockdown) so gave them a good soaking to stabilise the straw and left them be. They are just right for harvesting now. Interestingly, they are a bit harder to harvest (compared to the field experiments, where the crop was spread out nicely on the soil surface) as some are tangled up in the straw and others have burrowed into the ground, as the soil is much softer than our arable land. A warning for anyone thinking of trying this on fen land...

What about greening of tubers?
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
We put pink firs in because I like eating them. Don't think that there's any source of info on best varieties, but fancied salad types as thought they'd be better on blight. Not very scientific, but delicious
 

New Puritan

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
East Sussex
Thanks @martian . I wasn't inferring anything about your choice of pink firs! Just interested. I keep meaning to give it a go, but we have badgers and wild boar come and dig everything up as it is, so I need to think about some of the practicalities.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I've done some this year too. They have done better than expected but slugs are a pain and lots of the potatoes have holes all through them :cautious: not sure if the slugs did that but it's annoying having to throw half of them.
Not wireworm? 🤔 They are barstewards, and the main reason we went to no-till potatoes, our garden for some reason is not "root veg compatible" at all.
Grows them well, but nobody seems fussed on perforated spuds or carrots so we grow them elsewhere under mulch
 
Not wireworm? 🤔 They are barstewards, and the main reason we went to no-till potatoes, our garden for some reason is not "root veg compatible" at all.
Grows them well, but nobody seems fussed on perforated spuds or carrots so we grow them elsewhere under mulch
I don't know! Dad said it might be he used to grow quite a bit of a garden so would know more than me about it but I'd already thrown the potatoes before he came to see.
The tops just died almost overnight so I dug some up and they had these holes in :(
Will try mustard next year (y)
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



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