One of the country’s biggest potato producers is using an innovative app to improve the marketable yield and efficiency of its crops.
The Elveden Estate is using the Crop4Sight management tool to improve the efficiency and profitability of 900ha of potato crops grown across four farm sites in the East Midlands, East Anglia, and Yorkshire.
Potato crop management has often been driven by calendar date and experience. But increasingly variable growing conditions and extreme weather – and a more challenging marketplace – can make it harder to manage crops efficiently.
Crop4Sight makes growing potatoes easier by giving growers access to a toolbox of insights – including optimum seed rates, emergence, stem numbers, tuber population, ground cover and yield size.
In doing so, the toolkit helps growers mitigate the challenges they face throughout the growing season. Ultimately, this delivers a better product for the end user – helping to optimise business profitability throughout the supply chain.
Elveden technical agronomy manager Simon Taylor says information provided by the app means he is able to make better crop management decisions on behalf of a range of customers – including main crop, salads, processing and pre-pack.
He has used Crop4Sight to delay the burndown of one salad crop by four days. This improved the marketable yield of the crop by an additional 3t/ha. At í300/t on a 10ha field, the system quickly pays for itself, says Mr Taylor.
With Crop4Sight providing insights throughout the season, potato efficiency and profitability has improved across the farm. The seed rate calculator provides real value and Mr Taylor says he is already looking ahead to 2021.
“By accounting for seed age and planting date, it optimises seed rates by better matching them to target yields and target crop size requirements – while also offering the potential to reduce seed costs with the improved efficiencies.”
Simple but effective
By bringing all the necessary information together in one place, Crop4Sight means growers can easily focus on one crop or quickly filter a selection of crops by farm, field, variety or usage type to provide an overview of the whole farm enterprise.
This enables the easy identification of trends and areas that need action. Providing early warning, for both farm operations and improved matching of crops to customer specifications; decisions that are key for crop utilisation and profitability.
Comparing different potato crops enables growers to see where farming operations should be prioritised. It also makes it easier to match crops to specific customer requirements – helping to improve production efficiencies.
“It would not have been possible to see these differences just looking by eye. Having objective data to compare is essential and Crop4Sight provides that ability to see when a crop is ahead or behind in its development and taken the required actions.”