potato destoner at work© Tim Scrivener

AHDB is to expand its potato demonstration farm initiative in 2016, adding farms in East Anglia and Scotland.

It follows the success of the first Strategic Potato Farm (SPot) launched earlier this year in Staffordshire.

The aim of the initiative is to put the latest research into practice on a commercial farm, over a three-year period.

See also: Benchmarking soils may help boost potato yields

AHDB technical executive Hannah Goodwin, who set up the first farm, explained: “The aim is to give growers confidence to try something new by getting it out into the field.”

The demonstration at James Daw’s farm looked at different depths of bed forming, bed tilling and destoning treatments.

One finding was that shallow bed forming resulted in 32% faster cultivation but with no adverse effect on yield. However, deeper bed tilling tended to reduce yields.

She added that so far the farm had hosted more than 400 growers and agronomists through organised open days and other visits. “There is one more in December where we will look at the yields.”

The initiative is being rolled out with two more farms for 2016, one in East Anglia and the other in Scotland.

For those who can’t make the open days, AHDB has just launched a dedicated webpage hosting a series of technical videos filmed at the site to help growers put it into practice on their farm.