19 February 1998
Potato growers look forward to all-purpose machine

THE search for larger and more sophisticated farm machines could result in a £500,000 all-purpose machine for potato growers within the next few years, the Agricultural Engineers conference in Dundee was told.

Gordon Skea, of Reekie Manufacturing, said that stone separating and windrowing techniques had revolutionised the sector in 25 years.

He said potato growing was being driven towards fewer, but larger, growers operating in bigger fields to match the growing efficiency of eastern Europe.

And he advocated moving to wider wheel spacings working to a three or four row system, which he thought would increase the rate of work by up to 50%.

He believed there was a sound future for organic potato production but the problem currently was that the quality was not right.

Jim Cruikshank, chairman of the British Potato Council, told a meeting at Kelso this week the aim was to boost annual seed sales from 44,000 tonnes currently to 66,000 tonnes in five years. However, he warned stiff competition from Dutch growers would continue.

  • The Scotsman 19/02/98 page 30