21 July 1995

Potato harvesters brave a muddy day to entertain crowd

PROVING that you can plan for everything but the weather, a Specialist Potato Day held near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, last week turned out to be a testing time for harvesting machinery – and an entertaining spectacle for visitors.

An overnight deluge of 35mm (1.4in) created conditions which, for the more discerning growers, would have ensured potato harvesters remained shed-side.

Even so, with a big audience clearly keen to see how the machines would cope, five makers set forth to harvest a small area of host farmer, John Davies 100ha (250-acre) potato plot.

Leading the way, in strict alphabetical order, was the Grimme Variant DL1700, which, like the other harvesters, is a two-row trailed machine.

This was followed by Kverne-lands latest development, the 2400 complete with the machines new axle roller table, and then the Pearson Enterprise 2000. Following hard on the heels of Reakies Clean Flow 2000 came the Standen Status 1750.

Bearing in mind the conditions, in which providing sufficient traction to keep harvesters mobile was perhaps the main priority (a second tug tractor frequently needed to be hooked up), it would be unfair to pass comment on the actual harvesting performance of any particular machine.

Most, it should be said, managed to provide a reasonable sample, but with the need to raise the lifters when the going became "iffy" just how many potatoes were left in the ground is unknown.

For the organisers, though, seeds specialists Smith & Company, the day can be considered to have been a success. After all, it is not often so many potato growers amalgamate to hear, and see, all that is new in the potato world knowing there was nothing that could be achieved by staying at home. &#42

A helping pull in the mud for Kvernelands 2400 two-row harvester.