UK: Cultivating better practice

Most potato growers could afford to cultivate at least one inch shallower, according to NIAB research scientist, Mark Stalham, who outlined the benefits of reduced cultivation at the latest AHDB SPot farm walk. The event, held at James Daw’s farm in Staffordshire, identified reduced erosion, better work speeds and reduced costs as just some of the advantages associated with limiting secondary cultivation depth and intensity. All of which can be achieved without suffering a yield hit, according to Dr Stalham. Bed forming, bed tilling and destoning were all recognised as potential secondary operations. The trials build on around 80 experiments which have been carried out over the past five years as part of an AHDB project, all of which have shown a benefit from reducing tillage depth. Moreover, every farmer involved in the project has since reduced their standard depth of cultivation. More