16 February 1996

In-field potato DM kit

A NEW pocket-sized field kit to assess a key measure of potato quality has been designed by South Humberside company FARM-TEC.

The EASI-READ system for determining dry matter dispenses with the normal bulky method involving a 45gal drum of water and a displacement potato hydrometer, claims sales director Alan Richards.

It is aimed at farmers, seed growers, field officers working for processors and anyone needing speedy knowledge about their crops. "Dry matter very much determines merchantable quality," he says.

It works by taking a 25ml core plug sample from a pre-cut flat tuber surface. This is then trimmed and weighed to 0.1g resolution on a small, but "very accurate", pocket balance. This provides a known weight per ml which can be converted to percentage dry matter using a chart, he explains. Tests show a good correlation with the hydrometer method, he claims.

The £189 cost is similar to the standard method but involves a lot less "hassle", says Mr Richards. &#42