15 November 1996

Spuds turn out surprisingly well

POTATOES, all Rosetta for crisping, were all lifted by Oct 1 in ideal conditions with a relatively kind contract price underpinning an aver-age yield of about 45t/ha (18t/acre).

"It is surprisingly good given how dry it had been," says Mr Manners. The farm has no irrigation. "They went in really well in good conditions, and I suspect that helped keep them going until the end of August rain when they went mad."

Tramline trials adding an extra 38kg/ha (30 units/acre) of N to that indicated from experience and bringing the total to 256kg/ha (205 units/acre) once again seemed worthwhile. "It gave us a consistent 0.5t/acre more all round. I am told that is not significant, but I shall certainly do it again, though not on a large area yet."

Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association suggests that it is feasible to plough all the N in at planting, he adds. Up to now he has applied half in solid form at planting and half as liquid at emergence.

"I expect we will now follow that advice, though the extra will still go on as a spray."

His fixed price/fixed tonnage contract with Walkers has been particularly welcome this year.



&#8226 Most drilling contracted.

&#8226 Swift cereal & rape emergence.

&#8226 Winter linseed introduced.

&#8226 Oilseed rape area doubled.

&#8226 Riband dropped.

&#8226 Bunt surprise in Reaper.

&#8226 Potato contract welcome.

&#8226 Nitrogen trial promising.