Any Potato Experts?

  morddwyd 09:34 03 Sep 2010

A lot of potatoes are grown up here, and I’m used to them being harvested by killing the haulms off with a sulphuric acid spray, leaving the tubers in the ground to swell for two or three weeks, and then lifted.

The field opposite has three varieties growing this year, two of them have already had the acid treatment and I expect to see them being lifted soon.

However, the third plot has been left “in the green” and yesterday an implement went over them and simply shredded the haulms, which have been left on the surface.

I have never seen this before, or even the implement used, and I assume the material is simply going to back in the soil as green manure.

What I really want to know is, is this something new, or if it is quite normal, why isn’t it done all the time?

  Quickbeam 12:10 03 Sep 2010

I've wondered why some wheat fields get the usual combine that leaves the straw in neat lines to be baled later by another machine, and some farms have a combine that just chops it up into short lengths and scatters it behind to be ploughed in.

Also, the rape seed used to be cut 6 weeks earlier and left in rows to allow the seeds to dry after cutting for a few weeks before another machine harvested the seeds. Now it's done in one go much later when the seeds have dried on the stems.

PS, why is fourm member shouting so?

  Covergirl 12:28 03 Sep 2010

. . . and pasted direct from the linked page.

Never heard of killing off with acid or shredding the tops - my domestic spuds are left until the haulms die off or lifted earlier for smaller spuds. That'll be farming methods then.

  ronalddonald 13:28 03 Sep 2010

cant you harvest them and sell them locally.

  ronalddonald 13:29 03 Sep 2010

or better still have a contract with walkers crisp

  sunnystaines 15:24 03 Sep 2010

cannot answer your question but the best potatoes i have ever tasted are in cyprus not sure what type they are called but very tasty.

surprised they do not grow more and export them.

  jakimo 16:44 03 Sep 2010

"surprised they do not grow more and export them"

They do,they are sold locally from time to time,the quality is said to be due to the red Cypriot soil

  ella33 17:20 03 Sep 2010

I have read Fourm member's link too but I am wondering how long farmers have been using the sulphuric acid spray? I can still remember people digging poatoes in fields nearby, even when I was a teenager...I am not meaning garden ones.

  sunnystaines 18:06 03 Sep 2010


  namtas 19:51 03 Sep 2010

Sulphuric acid spray is used in the control of blight, Paraquat can also used. The top growth or haulms are usually sprayed two or three weeks prior to being lifting.

This is done to prevent the blight spores transferring from the Haulms to the potatoes during lifting when they are lying on the ground.
I have an allotment and obviously not able to use such dangerous forms of control I therefore cut remove and burn the tops if blight looks like being a problem. This prevents the spores being washed down the stems into the tubers. The potatoes mentioned that have had different treatment may be trying another form of control or perhaps they are trialling a blight resistant variety. Early varieties of potatoes do not usually suffer from this problem due I suppose to the earlier lifting

  morddwyd 20:35 03 Sep 2010


That seems entirely reasonable.

Of course, much of the crop up here goes to seed potato stocks, so blight would be even more critical.

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