British Farming Awards: Potato growers created own clever depth control system

Potato farmer Andrew Webster is one of the 5 Machinery and Farm Technology finalists in this year’s British Farming Awards competition. The finalists have either developed a new way to drive their business or have adapted technology to improve efficiencies. Born out of an ambition to more accurately apply nematocide at a precise depth, Lancashire potato grower Andrew Webster has created his own clever depth control system. Inspired by height control systems as used on combine headers and beet harvesters, the depth control system uses a potentiometer which works in concert with the tractor’s hydraulics. As the potentiometer detects variations in bed height, it effectively tells the tractor to either raise or lower the bed tiller. The bed tiller is part of a one-pass potato planting rig, created by Mr Webster, and is suspended in a frame. Mr Webster says; “A big challenge was the calibration of the electronics. Once solved, this allowed us to set a working depth, with the electronics and hydraulics working automatically to maintain this.” Read more