New app sizes up potato prospects

Article taken from Crop Production Magazine, May 2017.


Potato growers could find sizing potatoes from test digs much easier in the future thanks to a new mobile app developed by the James Hutton Institute and Agrovista.

Analysing tuber size from test digs is an important process that enables growers to manage burn down/haulm destruction strategies to optimise tuber size, ensuring crops meet market requirements and so maximise profits.

Until now, this has involved riddling tubers through multiple sieves and grading according to size. The PotatoSize app replaces this laborious process, using cutting-edge automated analysis of pictures of tuber samples taken by growers. It provides accurate results within minutes, says Lewis McKerrow, Agrovista's head of precision technology.

"This allows quick and easy assessment of crop statistics, including crop weight in 5mm size bands (t/unit), current estimated crop weight per area (eg t/ha) and an easy-to-read bar graph of size bands.

"The app provides growers with the information they need to achieve accurate, consistent results across crops and sites", he explains.

"Growers can now forget about using cumbersome riddles and sizing grids. In addition, larger organisations benefit from the ability to get consistent results from different staff across multiple locations, as well as the ability to export results back to a central point."

The app contains detailed information on how to prepare a sample and take a photo of the potatoes. Growers can assess crops using the following simple steps:

Dig a measured length of row
Organise potatoes uniformly on the soil
Place reference sheets beside the potatoes
Take a picture
Press process
Wait a few minutes for the results.

PotatoSize is available for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play store.


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