12 July 2002

Irrigation boom to boost spud profits

A £500-£600 investment in a variable angle irrigation spray gun for potato crops could pay for itself in the first year.

Shelling out £10,000 for an irrigation boom could also be a good idea, says ADAS irrigation specialist Bill Basford.

"A normal rain gun might give a uniformity of spray as low as 60%. But the variable angle models regularly achieve 90%. That is bound to improve overall crop quality and increase returns," he says.

"An irrigation boom fitted with nozzles is expensive. But it will last 10 years or more and also offers 90% uniformity. On a 50 acre crop that adds up to about £35/acre. I reckon the investment could be recovered with money to spare as a result of quality improvement."

Poor water distribution leads to poor quality potatoes, he stresses. And this reduction in quality will almost inevitably lead to yield losses and even provide entry points for disease. &#42